I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all
– Joni Mitchell
I’ve had a lot of what I am calling to friends, for lack of a better term, “garbage” rolling around in my head right now. It seems that I am either completely swept up in life to such a large degree that not an arrant thought enters my head, or I am totally self-absorbed and introspective. Guess which plane I am on now?
I guess that this is pretty typical when you are in the throws of a life change. I thought that I have had many of those over the past three years, but what is going on now is truly a mark. My father has been ill for a number of years- diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s, a new cancer. As my mother said to me on the phone, “we always wondered what would get him first?” No need to wonder now. The answer is liver cancer, which he has been valiantly fighting for the past few years.
My parents called me the very night before we had a huge event for my job to tell me that the best cancer center in the world told them it was all but done. It’s quite strange and sobering to actually hear from someone that they acknowledge that their own life is coming to a close. Although I was not shocked as I knew his chances of surviving this were slim, listening to him tell me he was leaving my life was like getting a cartoon anvil dropped on my head.
And I have to kind of get on with it. I have a job and obligations. But I am decently preoccupied and irritated at the moment, and I imagine this will be the course for a while. A friend of mine recently lost her father and before I knew of my own father’s solid fate, I emailed her and told her how empty I think I will feel when the people who made me leave this world. I suppose it’s a tiny taste of what parents must feel when they lose a child. It’s a taste of your own mortality…bitter, more than sweet.
I want to write something compelling and meaningful about what a great person my dad is and what an impact he had on my life, but everything seems very jumbled and I am not sure where to start. And I feel like no one will hear me or care as much as I do.
And of course (in tribute to the selfishness I referred to earlier), back to me and this nagging sense of WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE! I have almost entirely walked away from being an artist and at times it is relieving, but often it’s more empty than anything I can describe.
So, that’s the view from this side.