They say time heals all wounds. That isn’t true. It just makes you lose sight of the scars. Every so often, missing my father hits me so hard that it’s all I can do to keep from coming completely unglued. And the thing is, when you see it coming you can mentally prepare for it. Missing someone can hit you sideways and suddenly the wound seems fresh.

This is great when I’m channeling it for writing purposes. It’s highly inconvenient when I’m at my day job trying not to blubber.

So how did I cause myself such great angst? Listening to Depeche Mode.

Yeah, I know, that’s what DM is for. I was goth, I have the t-shirt. I knew what I was getting into. But the thing is, it isn’t the band or the lyrics. It’s me as a teenager listening to “Black Celebration” and “Violator” until the tape wore thin, ignoring my parents, the alcohol, the yelling. Me losing myself in incense and candles and generally checking out.

And my dad complaining about my loud music, about me not paying attention, about me not caring about anything that mattered. The yelling, the general contentiousness of teenage existence and the pain of a dad who didn’t have a “little girl” anymore.

Yeah, I know. That’s hard for someone to miss, right? Stick with me.

So I hit college and I’ve secured as many scholarships as I can, saved what I could because I know I’m paying for this myself. I have my own car (mini truck, flannel, yeah, you get the picture of where college was going) and I’ve carefully calculated how much a month I’ll have to make to move out.

And I do. I am so out of there it’s not even funny.

Christmas comes and I’m asking my parents what they’d like and my dad says, “I’d really like whatever album that ‘World in My Eyes’ song was on.”

It’s funny because surely he’d heard that song from the hallway a million zillion times but for whatever reason, I was shocked he knew it. And it was probably the first moment since puberty I thought maybe, just maybe, my parents heard me. It was stupidly revelatory at the time. But that’s what college is for, I guess. The point of the working. So you can see your parents weren’t the assholes you thought they were.

Okay, they kinda were, but you kinda were, too.

Anyway, it hit me with surprising force that he was gone. And now, instead of doofy tapes, or even doofy mp3s in portable listening machines the size of my thumb, I’m listening straight from the cloud on Grooveshark. Life moves fast.

4 thoughts on “Here is the house

  1. Hi Clancy
    I still miss being able to ring my Mum for a “philosophical” chat. I resented her like crazy growing up because my Dad died and I loved him more than I did her. I was so glad she lived long enough for me to appreciate her.
    There should be a name for the day we see our parents as people not just “pains in the ass”. Sometimes we have to leave home to do it, though.
    I wonder whether he ever listened to it after you gave it to him or was it just a reminder of you. for him.

  2. I’m pretty sure he listened to it because he’d sing “World in My Eyes” every now and then when it got stuck in his head. Though it’s possible he heard it so much before that he knew the words by heart anyway.

    We fought all the time about my music. I was pretty heavily goth so it was all Siouxie, The Cure, The Church, Depeche Mode, etc.

    I’m sorry about your mom and your dad 🙁 My mom will probably outlive me. Or maybe I just like to think that because I’m not sure what I’ll do without family. I always tell my cats they have to outlive me but they never do 🙁

    Husband has to too. I’m not good with loss.

    There really should be a name for that day. I think it would give parents some hope to think their crazy 15 year old will someday snap out of it.

    So who are you more like in the end, your mom or your dad?

  3. Hi Clancy
    When you say “The Church” is that the Australian group? The Cure I can relate to. You’re just a rebel at heart, but I think people who don’t rebel are always kids. It’s a necessary stage of development. I encourage it.
    As for who I take after. As Dad died when I was so young I never really got to know him as a person. I gather from some reports he was fairly intolerant/impatient. I like to think I have the best of both of them. Dad’s sense of humor and Mum’s sensitivity to people. Mind you she became a born again Christian for a while which was pretty hard to deal with. But I think it was a stage she went through to get over Dad’s death.

    1. Yep, The Church from Australia. I played Starfish over and over again. I was also really into Crowded House (I know, New Zealand, but it’s in the ball park…) I still am really into Crowded House. They came through here a couple of months ago. I have a picture of me looking way too excited to be meeting Neil Finn. Ah… any excuse to talk about Crowded House. But I mentioned The Church because I remember him getting especially upset over their lyrics, though I still don’t know what was so much worse about them…


      I’m sorry you didn’t get to know him. After my dad died, one of his friends from college wrote to me, talking about his memories of him. I didn’t see myself in my dad so much until I read that letter–reading about how he was before he had a family and the rest of it. And as I stepped back and saw some of the things we did as a family, I could see how that all pieced together.

      My mother is very patient and very kind. She’s extremely giving. She also gets walked on a lot. She’s been with this quack doctor who uses LED lights to heal people. And the thing is, she wants people to be well. She wants to believe it. I think this is her “born again Christian” moment.

      I think you got some pretty wonderful things from your parents 🙂 You spread some pretty good will around, a talent I wish I could acquire.

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