“Nah.”

My mother and father had three children together. My sister, Chrissie, is five years older than I. My brother, Kevin, is 11 months younger. I was the only one of us who went to my Dad’s when he was dying. Chrissie doesn’t handle death and dying very well. Kevin wanted nothing to do with my father. He wasn’t interested in his side of the story. As far as he was concerned, my father had, indeed, abandoned us.

Sofie came to me and said that it was my father’s last wish to at least speak with each of his children one last time. She tearfully asked if I would call Kevin, try to get him to talk to Dad. I knew it was futile, but I agreed. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but how do you tell your father’s grieving wife no in those circumstances? I didn’t know how. I called my brother.

“Hey, Kevin. It’s Gringa. Um… I’m calling you from Dad’s house. He’s in pretty bad shape. He doesn’t have much longer. Sofie asked me to call you because his last wish is to speak to each of us one more time. If I bring the phone to him, would you be willing to speak to him for just a few minutes?”

“Nah.”

I was a little taken aback. It wasn’t the fact that he had refused. I expected that. It was the way he said it, as though I’d asked him if he would like a nice cup of tea. I recovered, and I tried again.

“Are you sure? It would only take a few minutes.”

“Nah.”

“Well, Ok. I’ll talk to you later. Say hi to everyone for me.”

“All right. Bye.”

Later Sofie asked if I had talked to Kevin. “I called him a little while ago. I’m so sorry, Sofie. He said no.”

“He said no?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, Sofie. I tried. I really did.”

She went away, bewildered and hurt. That was Thursday. Friday she asked me to try again. I don’t know if I was surprised or not, but I agreed. In the meantime, I’d called Chrissie as well.

“You should come and see Dad. It’s the last time you’ll be able.”

“It would be too expensive to fly all of us there.”

“Well, just you come then. Frank can stay with the kids for a couple of days. You know he wouldn’t mind.”

“If I came out now I wouldn’t be able to come to the funeral. I can’t afford two trips.”

“To hell with the funeral. See him now while he’s still alive. Everyone will understand if you can’t make it for the funeral.”

She didn’t come. I called Kevin again.

“Listen, Sofie wanted me to call one more time. Are you sure you won’t speak, just for a minute or two? Just to say, ‘Hey, it’s Kevin.’ He can’t even respond at this point, so you wouldn’t have to have a conversation with him.”

“No. I’m not going to talk to him.”

The next day was Saturday. Dad’s hands and feet were purple. The hospice nurse had told us that when we saw the extremities turn blue or purple we would know the end was near. Circulation was pulling inward, protecting major organs as death approached. I called my brother a third time.

The first two times I called were on Sofie’s behalf, but that third time? That was all on me. At some point my stepmother had asked me to be strong, and I was. But I wanted my father to have his last wish, and I began to feel desperate about it.

“Hi, Kevin. It’s Gringa again. I know you said you don’t want to talk to Dad, but…  I wanted to call you one more time. He isn’t going to be with us much longer. In a few hours no one will ever ask you to speak with him again, because he’ll be gone. Are you sure you won’t say just a few words to him? It’s your last chance.”

“I told you no. I meant no.”

“Ok.”

I did not know I’d lost two family members that day, but I did.

That’s all I want to talk about today. I’m still very tired, and I just don’t have the energy to say anything more.

Thanks for listening.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on ““Nah.”

      • I do understand that. My husband has two girls he never sees. It’s terrible that he doesn’t, but to see them would mean he’d need to see his ex again. That’s far worse. x

        Like

  1. You have my hugs. It’s not an easy thing to write about, let alone deal with. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all the thick and thin stuff on my end, it’s that family are the people you CHOOSE to include in your life and the ones that are just as happy to be there. I don’t keep contact with 90% of my biological family because of this exact reason.

    Like

    • You are absolutely right. I sometimes feel like some kind of freak because I don’t really have a family outside of T and the kids. Even though I know the real story, I often feel that it reflects badly on ME. I’m envious of people who have “normal” families.

      I can’t tell you how grateful I am to know there are others who understand, even if I do wish they’d never had to make those decisions, either. I hope that me writing about it helps someone else along the way.

      ::hugs:: to you, dear. I’m happy you’re here.

      Like

      • That’s it entirely. I used to feel the same whenever people would pull the old “Oh, don’t you speak to X anymore” (insert mother/sister/father/cousin/uncle/etc.) but then I realised that, though I was raised to see them as family, anyone that actually cares enough to love you treats you kindly not because they’re obliged to, but because they genuinely give a damn. I hope that makes sense. I’m having serious poo-brain today. For what it’s worth, I consider you part of my online family and that’s good enough for me 🙂

        Like

  2. Pingback: More Spam | Bleached Bone Valley

Lay it on me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s