I still feel no sorrow. As my wife observed, “He is missed by no one.” Oh, I don’t rejoice, either. I am not glad and celebrating. It is more like a neighbor a few doors down passed. He had become someone for whom I had no emotional investment. Perhaps that is where I should start.
Mourning started three years ago when I realized he just did not care. He was a border who stayed with me for free food, room, and room service. We were having a big final concert that I was playing in. The long-time director was retiring and we were playing many of Dad’s favorites. I really wanted him to come. He would have charmed everyone and (maybe) enjoyed the music. He declined because he had to pack.
I came home to find him watching Survivor.
It was a Zen-like satori – enlightenment in a single breath. He did not care and was not interested in anyone or anything besides himself. I think I mourned this loss for the next few years. I mourned the death of the father who would finally get it and be interested in his sons and grandchildren. When he died, the futile wishing ended.
I stopped trying to share my life with him. I let him talk during phone calls. I only discussed him in my emails to him. My family did not matter.
I am not triggered as before. Things come up and I remember, but I don’t get into a loop trying to resolve how to make him come around. Once in a while I will suddenly understand why he was such a jerk on some occasion. On the other hand, occasionally I feel relief knowing that some of my fears will never happen now. He will never come up and claim my new couch. My leather couch will not end up with rips or burns due to his seemingly naïve carelessness. He will never monopolize the television. I won’t have to explain how the remote works to him, ever again. I do not have to fear him making sexually inappropriate comments to my neighbors, friends, and co-workers. I will not spend my retirement taking care of him after he spent his pretending to be Hugh Hefner. These were real fears.
I am relieved I will never be asked to go on a cruise in the middle of the school year when I am teaching – something he liked to do regularly. He will never push for more children until we produce a son. He will never again complain about high prices and northern winters, compared to third-world tropical South American countries. I will never again be asked why I don’t retire (from a job I love) sell my house, and leave my wife of 36 year to come rot with him. Last time he did this I said, “You really aren’t concerned with me working so much as no one else can stand to be around you.” Subtlety was wasted on him.
It was all about image. He expected to be worshipped and adored, but did nothing to earn it. He claimed to be fluent in Spanish and French. 50 words in each language with hand motions will get you there. He claimed to have lowered his cholesterol by diet alone. He had no clue and took Crestor. He wanted everyone to believe he was rich from careful saving and investment. He inherited from his mother and died leaving little more. It was enough to provide, but not enough to even consider buying a small house or a new car.
On the other hand, he was not controlling. He did not stalk, much. He did not demand. Both require too much effort. He was more of a sociopath, saying and doing inappropriate things, than a psychopath who deliberately tried to cause grief for others. The inappropriate behavior was more annoying than dangerous.
My brother and I saw to it that he had a Masonic Funeral. Although he had no other requests, we had his ashes buried with his mother and a marker is on order.
As executor of his estate, I have paperwork for one 11 year-old car and some stock that my brother and I will split after probate. He owed no bills, owned no property, and had little else. He died alone and is not missed by anyone.