Capturing and post-dating this from http://blogs.opml.org/decafbad/2007/09/25
Hello world. Seeking greater habits of mindfulness today.
Thinking sometime I'd like to blog about my Dad's passing, pen some kind of brain dump beyond the scattered thoughts I've been recording in my journal. I've never really quite done anything like that before, though. Might be too personal, probably a little bit angry, and not entirely rosey. I don't think that's the sort of thing that fits into most of the writing outlets I've set up for myself so far - excepting maybe my LiveJournal account that's gone mostly unused for the past 5 years or so. Hmm.
I can still see my Dad's ashes on the webcam.
I suppose this is as good a place as any to dump a few thoughts.
Watching a video of Richard Dawkins responding to questions after a talk, and I just had to note one of the things he said of religion and religious rituals: "What is comforting and what is true are two different things."
I suppose, in a way, I've wired myself to find comfort in truth - even if it's superficially uncomfortable. I'm not perfect in this, but I do experience quite a large degree of painful cognitive dissonance when I catch me trying to fool myself.
In the wake of my Dad's passing, I'm working through a lot of things without the benefit of comforting religion. A priest spoke at the funeral whose words fell on me like bad pop-up and banner ads for the Catholic Jesus - propagandic, mildly annoying, and not at all relevant to me or my situation. I didn't even bother to sing along or mouth a single "amen" like I might to be polite in other settings.
Instead, the things in which I find closure, if not solace, is to do quite a lot of mindful reflection on my life, my Dad's life, and how the patterns of my life have come about in reflection - or in recoil - of his. I try to find the gifts for which I owe him thanks, and the things of which I should be wary and protect myself. This, to me, is where to find the meaning in his passing.
Dad died of heart disease at the age of 55 - only 24 years ahead of me. He didn't take his medicine or follow doctors' advice very well. After the divorce, he retreated to a cottage in the woods hours north from most family and old friends. He lived with a gorgeous dog and a girlfriend who was apparently alcoholic and a chronic smoker. He left a lot of things he wanted to do undone - a bucket of fishing poles for retirement forgotten in a basement, for example.
I've been making a lot of calls for doctor appointments this week and inventorying the buckets of fishing poles in my basements. No part of this story will be mine.
Dad always had tools and half-done projects laying around. We had plenty of duct tape and electrical tape available, and seeing the insides of appliances and gadgets was commonplace. I've known what a soldering iron was for as long as I can remember. It was one of his screwdrivers I used to get inside first things I took apart. I think the very first was a car stereo he left on top of my toy box in the course of working on a truck in the garage. Unfortunately for both of us, it would be a few years before I learned how to put things back together. But, he was very good at both, and I never wanted for a working car after I got my drivers' license - even if the whole wheel did come off the axel on one of them.
Dad as tinkerer - these are the stories I claim in the founding of me. Relatives on Mom's side always say I got that from him, though I'm pretty sure I got an equal measure of smarts from them. But, most gadgets I owned as a kid eventually acquired a wrapping of black electrical tape and I associate the scent of molten flux with him and being in his basement. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the things I'm most proud of in my own life - the things about being a tinkerer.
I've got a whole lot more banging around in my head, but I think this is plenty for now.