It took me a long time to write this story, because it is so hard to tell. Before, when I was talking to my therapist, she told me that one day, I’d be able to control my feelings, if I just let myself feel. I still can’t, but that’s not the point. The point is, that when you know eventually the pain will subside and life continues, you can push through. I haven’t had a rebirth or any sort of thing like that.
I don’t believe in it. God, rebirth, divine intervention are all bullshit to me.
I believe in the past, that is why I am a historian. I relish in things that have gone and over analyze what once was to learn what might be. My strength to hold on tight to these memories has been a burden, one I can’t let go of because there is fear in me. If I let go of the way it felt, I may just let go of everything, and I’m no Buddha.
It’s weird to say a few years ago, as once it was a day ago, a month ago, a winter before, or two summers gone, but I must be honest with the facts. November 2007, Robert Herman died of cancer. A disease that slowly ate away at his stomach and later his pride. An experience that people have frequently,not unique to me or them. And so it was, that very Thanksgiving would be our last together.
In the beginning it didn’t click. I didn’t have a reaction. I try not to do the what if’s and what have you’s, but, I go over the moments in my head, wondering. I just try to recall what happened and trace back to the events, like CSI. My dad called me to say, with no change in voice or inflection, “I have cancer, daddy’s gonna die.” Blunt was something he excelled at, rolling them too. Daddy’s gonna die sounded so ridiculous and what a way to say it. His way with words always was poetic. I asked him the usual questions about where it was, how far along it was, and what the doctors say. But, stomach cancer is unpredictable, nearly incurable, and the best doctors to cure it are in Japan. And, Robert Herman was not going to Japan, he never had sushi in his life!
If not Japan, than Tampa, Florida, the nostalgically warm home of my Uncle and Aunt; Tommy and Debbie Herman. All of their names are reminiscent of baby boomers and I tried to think of names that could be similar, to give the same feel, but I just couldn’t find anything more perfect than what they already are.
Their house was full of windows, it had great snacks, there was a backyard with a golf course on it, I had my own room, which was my cousins room, and my dad was in the room nearest to the backdoor. He went out there to smoke cigarettes. During all of it he quit for a while, but once he found out things were going downhill he said “fuck it all” and took up the habit again. I think it’s what killed him. The smoking, not just during cancer, cause who could blame a dying man for smoking cigarettes, was the culprit. He could do acid and heroine at the same time and I wouldn’t care. But, before, when he was a young man and then an older man too. The Tampa house is where he spent most of his time. It was a vacation home on an awefully morbid holiday.
To be honest, the best part of the house was the unlimited pot and not only during the cancer but before too.