My father died when I was 13 and my two younger brothers were 11 and 7. Having a parent die when we were kids left a void in the three of us. Our childhoods and teens were partly spent trying to fill that bottomless void in however ways we could. Shitty relationships, television, booze, weed, studying and working as hard as possible, may have been attempts at filling the void. One by one we each, in turn, came of age. And the void thinned.
But it never went away. (Perhaps because I don’t think I want it to. Like that song ‘I don’t wanna get over you’. I hold on to a bit of grief because letting go of it would mean letting go of a piece of my dad. And I don’t want to.)
Besides stunting us, losing our father also gave us something. My brothers and I all value time like barely anyone I know. We can’t stand and won’t put up with doing things we don’t like doing. Because we’ve learned that time is limited, so we value that shiznit.
It can be easy to look at the dead through a hazy filter of nostalgia that smooths out faults and turns them into noble attributes. So only recently have I been able to look back and value memories of not only my dad but my mom as well.
Holy shit, it must’ve been hard losing your soul-mate (being mega-in-love helps me with that perspective). Holy shit, it must’ve been hard raising us on your own. Holy shit it must’ve been hard being the only person in your family living in Montreal (the rest of whom live in Mexico, which is so far away). And having to find a job after being a stay-at-home mom for forever. And juggling grief, crappy jobs and annoying kids who want expensive crap they see on tv.
And never once did I hear my mom complain about money. When we wanted fancy clothes, she would take us to the second-hand shops and buy us second-hand clothes we thought were lame and told us that it was a lesson in ‘Not giving a fuck’ and we’d appreciate it someday.
Well, I sure appreciate it now. Because I don’t give a fuck. (At least I try not to.) And I’m so thankful for that.
My brothers and I may not have many measurable achievements, but we do have something. We have some sort of invisible incorruptibility. A quality in us that can’t be dissolved because it comes from our experiences.
Love you mom, dad.