A Good News Bad News Kinda Day

All week I’ve been sluggish and weepy.  You see, today, April 15th, is the fifth anniversary of my father’s death.  It’s especially ironic that he died on April 15ht because he left us ten years of unpaid taxes–unpaid and unfiled, and unopened notices from the IRS… That’s my Dad on the right, me in the center rockin’ those 80s glasses, my sister on the left, behind us the waters of Lake Michigan.

I didn’t have a great relationship with my Dad, but it wasn’t bad either.  He was a good man that had a lot of problems, some of which I’m sure would not have been so damaging had my mother not died.  But that may be a fantasy, I don’t know.  What I do know is that he was smart and had a sharp wit (he could be a pretty funny guy).

What I do know is that he loved me, and I understood him– and still fear becoming like him…  As I look around my house now I see piles of I-don’t -know-what on my dining room table, papers strewn across my office floor and clean clothes stacked on the floor in my bedroom.  I wonder if this is how it began with my Dad.

A few significant differences I cling to:

1. I filed my taxes yesterday.  Here’s where the good news comes in– I’m getting a refund, whew.

2. My family room has places where friends can sit, and it is not so messy that I would be mortified if someone dropped by. I would even let someone in the door (and the line of bags of recycling that was in the entryway last week is now gone–  recycled!).

3. My mail– even junk mail– is opened and dealt with within a week of receiving it (usually on Saturdays).

4. I vacuum and dust. Not as regularly as I would like, but it does happen.

5. I know when all the food in my freezer went in.

6. If need be, I could get my place clean in about two hours. (I may not be able to find everything afterwards, but it would look pretty).

7. I feel like there should be a seventh thing, but I can’t think of one now.


5 thoughts on “A Good News Bad News Kinda Day

  1. Jenn,

    I didn’t realize that your father died on tax day. What do they say, death and taxes come to us all? Dad’s are such a mystery. I wonder if another memoir on your horizon might be about motherless daughters — left behind with their fathers.

    Life is full. I think it takes a lifetime to uncover this stuff. Personally, just my opinion, I don’t think you are in danger of becoming like your father in that particular way.



  2. Thanks, Karen… not sure about another memoir. I toyed with the idea of a “Deconstructing My Father” book but not sure I have it in me at the moment. I have other ideas for my 2nd and 3rd books– more fun, creative non fiction, less gut wrenching memoir.


  3. Sounds like you’ve established some good patterns there Jenn. Good for you.

    I totally get the “sluggish and weepy” part of that. It sneaks up and grabs me at random times, myself.


  4. I was just thinking about you the other day, Joe. As time passes it gets a little easier, a little less random, and if you pay attention you’ll know what triggers are there for you. Sometimes it is good to remember.


  5. Your posts trigger thoughts and feelings, always. This triggering happens especially on posts on death of either parent. You have the guts to spill (I can’t find your tagline… something about spewing… on the internets, and I miss it) and thus to fill holes in you, me, the general “us.” Is it ever OK when a parent dies, to be “left” an orphan? The first anniversary of my mother’s death, at 99, looms. Of course, it was OK that she died, finally. She had lived way past when she would have wanted to (her words before she “slouched toward,” then drowned in dementia). Yet I wish she were here now in incarnations so sweet, so tender, all mostly from my early childhood years, when she was still happy, even joyous. I hope you’re feeling safe today in reviewing the list of ways you choose to live while remembering the “whole” person your father was and remains in memory.


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