moving on


Portrait of Pa J in his 20s

The last 10 years of suave-looking Pa J‘s life without Ma J were unhappy ones. His health deteriorated until he was mostly bedridden the last year. Ma J‘s death hit him hard., He seemed to have some regrets over her last days. They were married for over 50 years and were never apart. She bore 7 children, scolded them into adulthood, cooked amazingly delicious food and looked after all his needs. In turn he cared for her and did everything to provide for his family. After she died, laughter went from the otherwise jovial Teo family.    

Caring for Pa J really bothered J. He saw the flaws of his father and his physical deterioration as a mirror of his own future. The tensions among his siblings (typical of large families) added to his feeling upset. He used to joke that Pa J’s flat was “Sadville”.  

Pa J didn’t know that J had died. This weighed on my mind. It was sad that this old man, who was so lonely and disappointed with his kids, should think that his youngest son - the one who went to university, never asked anything of him, accompanied him to almost all doctor visits - should suddenly also give up on him. It seemed harsh to both J and Pa J - this deception.    
   
When It was clear that Pa J wasn’t gonna survive this trip to the hospital, he was finally told. His passing is a relief on many fronts. The end of his physical and emotional pain. The possibility that he did call out to Jesus. And for me, a relief that J’s death is also finally done.   
   
I share all this with 2 “lessons” in mind.   
   
Don’t hide things from the old folks. They deserve to know. They are made of sterner stuff. If they can’t handle it, so be it. They have already lived a lifetime.    

This second advice feels old. But worth repeating. Especially with your lover/loved ones, let there never be any regrets. Make up as soon as you can. Choose always instinctively the needs of your beloved. If I seemed to have changed in these couple of years and now speak too much, live too hard, always say “yes” and always tell you “why not - just do it!”, it comes from feeling I have already maxed out my regret quota! So yes, keep your feet firmly rooted but go for it - and then start all over again tomorrow.




At Pa J's funeral: creepy "big head dolls" dancing as an expression of grief. Creepy and strange. 




 

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