I Am a Part of All That I Have Met

3 09 2018

Your Blogmeister’s Secret Hideout

Well peanut gallery, this is it.

On one of the regular business days this coming holiday shortened week, I depart.

All the logistics have been ironed out, all the I’s dotted and all the T’s crossed.  Any and every thing, big, medium, and small, that needed to be worked out or could have been an issue, has been finalized.  Overture, curtain, lights.

Among the many physical items I’ll be taking with me, I’ll be taking two flags of the city of St. Louis. Because I already have in mind one maybe more instances where I’ll carry one around on a stick or pole for the purposes of civic pride. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you here after the fact, it’s the kind of thing that I probably won’t have to keep secret.

***

I told you back on Thursday about a surprise I already knew that was coming my way over the holiday weekend, and that I thought it was going to be something along the lines of a going away party.  That it was, in fact, two different parties, one Friday night, the other Saturday night, and quite a few people I either all but forgotten about or totally forgotten about came to them.  I even went to church on Sunday where I ordinarily went back in the days when I was actually a bipedal creature, and this is the first time I’ve physically been to my home church since the accident.  I now think I’ve truly said goodbye-for-now and maybe forever to everyone around here I could have conceivably wanted to.  At that, I am at peace, and will have no regrets if this is forever with some or all of them.

Also during August, and speaking of forever goodbyes, my father died.  I held back on writing that here in public when it happened, just to keep my tracks well covered.  Such as it is, he had been gone in all-but-reality for years, hadn’t been compos mentis for years, had been virtually bedridden for almost all that time, and this was a matter of an impending when-not-if.  Just waiting on the mercy of death that finally came.

During the Venn diagram crossover between my lifetime and his functional coherent vital lifetime, he was a semi-interested and semi-involved father, (I have my mother’s last name), and as time went on, I came to realize how fortunate I was that he was even semi-interested and semi-involved, but also how much I missed that he wasn’t a true blue Ward Cleaver.

This also continues the “tradition” in my life for the second half of July through all of August time period of being a really bad time of the year for people I know dying.  As damned near happened to me last year. I’d like to think the timing of my father’s ultimate departure was an omen that cosmically communicated to me a justification of my big decision that I’m about to carry out, except my rational side, the part that believes in the existence of coincidences, won the day.

The fortunate part is that it happened before I have to leave, and all the funeral arrangements were made quite some time ago, even if the timing did set me back a little bit in terms of planning, packing and logistics for the move.  So it was for me just a matter of getting dressed up then showing up, and, because I’m his primary coherent functional next-of-kin, also being the emcee of the visitation, which was a first for me.  He married another woman not my mother when I was five years old, but never had children with her, and she in fact is herself bedridden and halfway out of it these days, so obviously she wasn’t able to show up to anything. If anyone has told her at all that her husband is gone, the odds are better not than so that she can even comprehend the message.  She and I have never seen each other in the flesh and never will, going back to what I figured out as I got older and was really able to put two and two together was a long-ago agreed-upon three-way collusion between her, my mother and my father that I would never meet her, so as not to drag a young me in the middle of what were probably very thorny and difficult interpersonal politics between the three of them, and also to box her out of any chance of developing a stepmother role, or, to put it another way, boxing in my actual mother as my only possible mother in life. She would always be “away on a business trip,” or “out of town visiting or tending to relatives,” or some excuse. The way I figure, by the time my mother and father figured that I figured out on my own the time of day and knew the score, my father didn’t feel the need even to feed me excuses any longer.

Back to my father, he was in the Army for four years after Korea ended but before Vietnam kicked up, so while he was no Audie Murphy, he was entitled to a final resting place at Jefferson Barracks.  Another fortunate circumstance about the final service and final resting place at JB is that he joins my three uncles (mother-side) who are already there whom I visit every Memorial Day.  I made it my business to pay them a visit while there, because I anticipate that I won’t be able to visit them or (now) my father on Memorial Day 2019, as I’ll be rather far away.  It will be the first MD since 1988 that I won’t be able to go to JB to visit somebody.  (Even if my father didn’t die, I had already planned on paying the other three a visit for that reason.)  I have already thought of a really special historic way to make it up to them, in a round about way, and in a way they would all appreciate.  I’ll drop this hint now:  Very near Memorial Day next year, there will be a very special anniversary of a very impactful event in a really hollowed place, tangentially involving an American veterans’ cemetery, and if all goes well, I’ll be able to go.

One difference between my father’s final service and the previous three I’ve experienced at JB is, because I was his most direct next-of-kin in attendance, I was the one who received his ceremonial folded flag.  That flag and the preservation encasement it’s inside is also packed away in one of my several suitcases, and is going with me.  The old saying that a boy doesn’t truly become a man until his father dies?  That’s another bit of prose that, at the moment I was handed a folded flag, suddenly went from being a just a phrase I’ve heard every now-and-again to a soul-deep experience, and at that instant I came to understand what it really means just beyond the literal definitions of the words.

In the years and months leading up to his passing, and the visitation, then the actual service, I speculated in my own head that I really wouldn’t have been that broken up or distraught or despondent over the inevitable passing of a man who has pretty much been dead for years and wasn’t the father that I thought he should have been.  I was always figuring on his actual passing to be anticlimactic.  When it actually happened, I took it a lot harder than I thought I ever would.  That’s the thing about life — It’s a binary function, just 0 or 1, and when 1 turns into 0, it’s staying there, for good, can’t ever go back to 1.  I guess we’re never truly mentally prepared for even a less than ideal 1 turning into 0. When I could finally let my guard down and let all the emotion fly out the night after the burial and then on and off over the next few days, I was mourning the lost opportunity in life more than I was the ending of life. Which made me really mindful of this opportunity that I’m about to take.

Now, as for the other half of my parental contribution, my mother, as you all know, is in assisted living, and her dementia is getting worse.  But it’s not yet so bad that she doesn’t understand that I’m about to move quite far away, and neither is it so bad that she doesn’t have the foresight to put up a front that she’s nothing but happy and not at all sad.  But I’ve known her for more than 41 years, so I know it’s going to hurt, and I know she’s going to do a lot of crying once I’m out of sight.  The first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, and I’m not there, will also hurt.  I will most likely miss her next birthday, which will be her 80th.  As far as that goes, I’ve thought of a way to make it up to her.  No, it won’t be cheap. I also worry that all this hurt is going to hasten her inevitable departure.

I am a part of all that I have met.

***

Now back to the point.  When I played this song for you three months ago, I told you that I was being funny with the lyrics, because I knew when I’d be back.  This time, these lyrics are for real.  I don’t know when I’ll be back again, or even if I’ll ever be back again, either in terms of a visit or moving back home.

I’m not totally disappearing from this space;  I will check in from time to time, my first opportunity to do that just might be sooner than later and a lot sooner than I initially thought, including being able to say where in general even if not specifically where is this new city.  Our favorite doggy will keep you entertained with a guest post every once in awhile.   But this space’s days as it was, and as you were accustomed to it being, are done, definitely for the near future, and maybe for good.

Something just occurred to me as I finished writing the last paragraph. This blog started on September 15, 2003, but it was a continuation of an e-mail newsletter I wrote going back even further, starting in late January 1998, meaning about two months short of my 21st birthday. Which means in some way shape or form, I’ve been going at this pre-blogging and blogging thing for more than twenty years. Half of my life. And I should say that it’s gotten me through some times. You long termers around here will remember the big events off top. But, whether way up, way down, or just fair-to-middling, through several residences, several zip codes, a handful jobs, a gaggle of girlfriends, a whole lot of life, a serious and as yet incomplete recovery after a close call with death, and my life’s overall general transition from young adult to middle age, this medium has been the one constant. If this is the end for this medium as it has been for the last twenty years, then I have no regrets, and it’s been a really worthy labor of love.

With all of you, too, I am a part of all that I have met.

***

And in case we never meet again, I want to leave you with this:

May you one day come to experience fulfillment and transcendence as soul-deep emotions rather than mere dictionary words.

May you one day come to realize that you have a future because you have a past, and you have a past because you have a future.

May you one day come to realize that life and purpose are one and the same, that having one is having both, and that lacking one is lacking both.

May you one day live such your best life that you dream when you sleep and when you wake up you’re still dreaming.

And may you one day come to experience what it is like truly to come home, rather than just returning to a house.

Or, maybe, just maybe:

***

I’ll see you guys.

And don’t take any wooden nickels.

sunset-ride

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12 responses

3 09 2018
BLOG ON SEMI-HIATUS (Sticky Post) | Countenance Blog

[…] My Labor Day 2018 farewell post — My final post from St. Louis for awhile, perhaps ever. […]

3 09 2018
Lewis33

Vaya con Dios! (And I do mean that literally) A little bit of ironic Spanish lingo on this sad (and happy) day.

3 09 2018
Alright Dan

As only Roy and Dale can.

3 09 2018
Auntie Analogue

Hasta Lumbago! . . . or. . . this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WsuLH4sulA

3 09 2018
Anony Moose

If this is your last post you have really ended it well and beautifully.

4 09 2018
Nicholas Stix

Herzliches Beileid.

Obwohl wir uns noch nicht getroffen haben, auf wiedersehen.

4 09 2018
Truth-hammer

Bon voyage!

4 09 2018
Alex the Goon

Bonn voyage.

4 09 2018
UlricKerensky

Hasta la vista

5 09 2018
MarxFreeTV

ciao!

5 09 2018
Puggg

Don’t worry chief, I’ll keep them all in line.

–Gets out his baton–

Now get back in line all of you.

7 09 2018
dk

So long Blogmeister, it was a joy reading your insights on the region! Best wishes!

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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