Journal Entries: What came before: The Monkey’s Fist

Image6/20 – 5 am waking. seeing dad so weak , like a scuba diver submerged. climbing in bed and enfolding him as I did my children, one hand on the top of his head the other with our fingers enfolded, breathing together, pressing my breasts against his bony back, willing my breath, my heartbeat, my blood and my warmth to support and comfort him, thinking , maybe this will be the day. going off to work, wondering, not knowing, letting go one more time, a whole series of letting goes, one after the other after the other.

6/22 – last night, my neighbor coming to the house, Tim on the mattress on the floor, half naked, daddy in the bed, half naked skeleton, leg sticking out like a heron bird, laughing , sharing, being charming. there was such a feeling of ease and joy in the room, dad was in rare form and energy.

today, he had a craving for a hamburger, but then seemed a bit unwell after several bites.

I took hot water and a towel as warm as he could stand it and massaged his neck and back, he made noises like a happy dog or cat, noises I have heard from my clients as a massage therapist. then he asked for a bit of morphine and slept.

I went out driving, with an errand as an excuse, heading west, towards the setting sun, I just wanted to keep driving, away away away from the impending death of my father.

6/29 – tonight I stayed with dad, helped him to the commode, he is so frustrated at his weakness. I told him, daddy, your body is in its own process, has its own wisdom, it is winding down and letting go, it is not the truth of who you are it is a vessel, like a ship that housed your soul on this journey. The truth of you, your essence is bigger than this, its more than this. Love is the universal truth. love is bigger than all of this.

The hospice nurse told me she thought dad was worried about me and couldn’t let go. I told him that he has given me all I need for this life, physically, emotionally, spiritually, that I will be fine, the children will be fine, my sister will be fine. I said it like I truly believed it. I told him that his job is to review his life, look over the good and the bad, that they are the same, because even from the bad you learn something for your soul, it’s all good, it’s all your process, your journey, don’t be afraid, be at peace, let yourself let go and know there is a safety net of love catching you. So much of my life lessons have been about letting go I told him, of the illusions all around. That we hold onto attachment like the monkey’s fist in the coconut who gets stuck in the hole. we get distracted. The truth is that love is bigger than that. all of that. all of this. bigger than you. trust in it. let go in it. let go in the process. be at peace.

You will give me strength for the rest of my life, I told him.

I told him I would not do a service like mom’s but that I would do my seven weeks prayer and have a graveside service with close family, that I would take a bit of his ashes on a pilgrimage to China to his parents grave, to see where he grew up to see Auntie and Uncle and I would write about all this about what I learned about him about his life. he said that was good. keep it simple, he said. and keep close to your cousins.  My parents are happy with that , he said.

He seemed relaxed by all this. It felt that wisdom more than little “me” was speaking to him. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I told him my wish for him now is to be at peace. To trust in his body’s process. To know that his essence is more than his body. To know that there is a safety net of love ready to catch him. To know that it is safe to let go.

When you love someone it is never enough time.


Fact: smaller ice chips work better than larger

Fact: everyone dies in their own way.

Fact: there is no instruction booklet

7/2 – Make no mistake about it, the very things I admire in him are the very things I blamed him for. But let’s face it, we want the positives, the positives nourish us. Nonetheless I remember telling him to his face “It’s your fault that I am a big fat loser! That I don’t know how to make money to ask for what I am worth to know how to be compensated, to know how to exist without bleeding myself dry by giving! It’s all your fault!”

But just the other day, as he lay dying, I told him softly in his ear as I stroked his forehead and whispered with love, “Everything good about me is because of you. Every strength I have I got from you. Anything good in me, I owe it to you, Daddy.”

I suppose both are true, it’s just how you choose to look at it, which way you happen to be facing at the time of evaluation. I love him so much. He is a good man. Honest and sincere. I’m so glad I got my anger off my chest in time for the tenderness to be said aloud.

Don’t be afraid to be mad at the ones you love. Just be sure you remember to say I love you in time.

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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

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