Monday, 28 November 2011

Passing the Time

My parents are hoping to be back in Israel at the beginning of next week, once my father has begun the new cocktail of drugs (flogging a dead horse, anyone?). After that, my classes finish on the 15th and I should really be booking tickets. The question was when I should book a ticket back to the UK. My mother suggests that I should see my father before deciding on when I should head back. The implication is that he is not in a good way and I will need to decide whether to stay for the foreseeable future.

Sensible Brother and I have been talking about "after", a pretty transparent euphemism for "when my father dies". Mostly we have been talking about his worries and concerns, some of which are legitimate and some of which are unfounded but worrying nonetheless.

What has been interesting is the way in which the death of a parent forces you to grow up. Obviously, having lived away from my parents for a decade, I don't turn to them every time I have a sniffle or a lightbulb blows in my bathroom. But I do ring them if I need advice, if I am out of my depth or if it seems that there is something they should know. My brother is slightly more dependent, but that is mostly by choice. My father, cryptic man that he is, has a tendency to give advice that seems to have little foundation. When asked why he does things the way he does, he responds with "one day you will understand". My brother worries that he will live his whole life by the rules set down by my father, only to realise on his own deathbed, that he never did understand and simply followed the instructions doggedly, waiting for the answer to become clear. I explained to him that part of being an adult is learning to find your own answers and to evaluate the information that you are given against your own experience and against expert advise. If he is not sure about something, he could ask a lawyer, accountant, doctor, etc. Part of growing up is realising that your parents are people and do not have all the answers, as much as they might present themselves as though they do. But it is hard to digest the idea that someone you may have relied upon to have an answer will no longer be there, whether their answers are good or not.

I have been reading back over my posts and I can see how far we have all come on this god forsaken journey. As much as we will all have learnt and understood, my father will still be dead, and wisdom is little consolation for that.

Happy news is thin on the ground these days and will probably continue to be for the next few weeks. I regret to report that we are coming to the end of this war. All I can hope for is to keep my chin up and remember that life always kills you in the end.

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