Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Different Body

"A Different Body," mixed media collage, 2.5" x 3"

Aloha from Maui. Today is my last day here and I managed to create a little collage last night using images from some tourist magazines and watercolor crayons I brought with me.

The title of this piece represents one of the main themes of this trip: my dad's different body. Last night my family had a little meltdown, resulting in my dad expressing that he no longer wanted to live like this. I asked him what "this" meant, and he said, "I can't breathe, I can't walk without resting, I can't do anything I used to do. I just have to sit here. The only joy I have in my life is watching you guys." My dad released many tears, as did the rest of us. I suppose my family was due for a group catharsis. We've all had cathartic moments at various times regarding my dad's cancer, but not all together like this. I felt like I was going to crack in half, turn to sand.

Not only did my dad express sadness, but a great deal of anger. He's been very short, curt, and grumpy with all of us, but particularly with my mom. It's as if his frustration about his own body is leaking out through his pores. I absolutely understand this. When you feel miserable on the inside, it can leak to the outside. It feels to me that my dad is toggling between grief and anger. It's a see-saw that is wearing him out.

So amidst this beautiful landscape and lovely moments with my family, there lingers some deep pain that is hard to wash off in the surf. Last night I sat and cried as the sun dunked itself into the ocean; I sat on big lava rocks and noticed sea turtles lifting their heads to the surface. It felt like they were checking in on me, making sure I was okay. I thanked them for their caring presence before I returned to the condo where I gave my dad's "different body" some attention with a little foot rub. He felt more grounded, and not surprisingly, so did I.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. Your family is lucky to have had such a meaningful experience. If only more of us could allow the pain to take us deeper into our humanity. Bless you.