Posts Tagged ‘parents


Moods and Mortality

“Blue” wasn’t just part of my online persona’s name yesterday. Ole Deac really was suffering a case of the blues.

Coming face-to-face with mortality does that to you.

Nah, I haven’t gotten some horrible diagnosis and I don’t have a dying family member. Hell, I don’t even have a sick pet right now. So, perhaps my experience is just so personal to me that it will seem trite to you. Maybe it isn’t worth blogging about.

Shit. Like I’ve ever let a little something like that stop me before.

It started with Mrs. Blue being kind of down in the dumps herself, really taking a pessimistic (somewhat justifiable, but in other ways not) view of something we’re working on right now relationship-wise, as well as kind of beating up on herself about one of those kinds of things women in particular so often beat themselves up about. She was bummed, and that bummed me out, since I wasn’t able to really brighten her spirits.

Then the weather was kind of sucky. Plus I’m recovering from a cold. So I was already vulnerable when I got the e-mail from my dad. He had thanked me earlier for something I sent him, and I responded back to ask how things were and how the family was doing in Arizona (those would be my mom’s relatives; my dad retired out near them instead of in Minnesota where his family is—the man is simply not interested in doing the mosquitoes and winters ever again).

This is where I find out that a former renter of his owes him even more money than I thought he did. And that my dad’s having some eye problems. And that even though he’s pretty active, he’s been gaining a bit of weight lately. Then I find out one of my cousins has remarried and just had the kid with his new wife baptized, and I never even knew he had been divorced from his first wife.  And miscellaneous other news of which I was also unaware.

The net combo has been to, first of all, remind me that my dad is going to die someday.

I know, big surprise, right? As is the shocker that he’ll probably precede me in shucking of his mortal coil.

But you know, while he’s a fit guy, Dad’s had numerous minor issues. Cholesterol started sneaking up on him. Sciatica and arthritis are getting in on the act and have been for years, frankly. And so on. Is he knocking on death’s door? Hardly. Will he likely live another 15 or 20 years (or more) most likely? Probably.

Or maybe not. I just don’t know.

Mom died early in my now-nearly-14-year-old marriage. She suffered cancer, and I wasn’t there when she died (though I did travel out to California to be there for her major surgeries and part of her recovery). Doesn’t matter that I had marital obligations and we just didn’t know when she would die…I still wasn’t there. And arriving in California to see her body before it was taken away for cremation didn’t really make me feel like I’d been number-one son. She and I were tight when I was growing up.

Still, I never beat myself up about it, and that’s because we always stayed pretty well in touch. Dad’s not much of a talker; Mom was. And aside from that, I knew Dad was with her, and Xeena the warrior princess miniature Dachshund. I knew she wasn’t alone.

But ever since she’s passed on to the next phase of spiritual evolution, I’ve often worried about my dad. Sure, he has in-laws around him who adore him, so if he dies someone will notice. But how soon? Dad and I don’t talk much because that’s just not the way he is. If we lived in the same state, we’d likely get together often. But phone calls and e-mails? Not so much.

I worry that Dad will die alone because, well, of course he likely will. He lives alone. Even the dog recently gave up the ghost. So now I’m extra sensitive to his health woes, because as much as I hate the thought of losing my only remaining parent (even though it’s the normal course of things), I hate as much…perhaps more…that he may very well have no one there when he checks out. Sure, he may end up needing care some day and may be living with us (or vice-versa) and we might have plenty of advance notice, particular if cancer decides Mom wasn’t enough and decides to visit Dad, too. But I worry about a fall, or a stroke, or a heart attack.

Stupid, I know, to worry about any of the innumerable “what if’s” that might arise. But still, I do, and more so the older he gets.

So, yeah, mortality in my face…even if it isn’t my own.

Plus the fact I’ve kept in poor touch with my relatives with whom I was so close for so long. I still have the connection, and yes, I know they could do more to keep in touch with me, too. But still, these are blood of my blood, and I feel like I’ve been too long disconnected from them.

And who knows how long I’ll live. Or when my grandma or some of my aunts and uncles might get their visits from the Grim Reaper.

Mortality again.

So much to do in life. So many obligations and desires.

So little time in the grand scheme.

I don’t have the blues today. But it all still weighs heavy on my mind.


Pre-Father’s Day

So, tomorrow is Father’s Day. If my little girl wasn’t frequently mentioning that she and Mommy need to work on my secret gift, I’d probably not even realize it was coming.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think it’s a fine day. It’s a good excuse to call my own Dad, since he isn’t the most talkative sort and weekly or even once a month phone calls would probably be stretching our conversational material. Much better to interact with him in person, where long silences can be comfortable instead of awkward. I mean, silences on the phone have got to be the most awkward of all.

Also, it isn’t that I don’t like being appreciated myself as a father. I really do.

But I guess I just feel a little weird, and even guilty, at having a whole day that is supposed to be about me, simply because I have highly motile sperm (with the rapidity of which Mrs. Blue has conceived on the couple occasions we went off the birth control options, I could have myself a very old-school Catholic-sized family apparently…apparently, fertility is not one of the problems we face.)

I mean, I love when my wife recognizes me for good fathering (she also has been known to lambast me about some things, too, so don’t go sending me a “perfect father” trophy). I adore when Little Girl Blue tells me I’m a great daddy or when Son of Blue gives me his honest and loving admiration and respect, just because he feels moved to do so. Those things warm my heart. They are honest and can move me almost to tears sometimes.

But at the same time, I don’t feel like a fantastic provider right now because, frankly, I’m not. Career changes and economy have not been kind. So, when I think about all the things I couldn’t do for my wife on Mother’s Day…or her birthday…or Valentine’s Day…or our anniversary, I feel a strong sense of guilt that Mrs. Blue and Little Girl Blue are working so hard to give me things and bake me things and cook me things. (Son of Blue is away at a political science-style camp, so he’s not involved in all this.)

In the tradtion of Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World,” I just want to shout, “I’m not worthy!” Maybe I am, but I don’t feel like it. Not worthy enough for a day to be devoted to me.

Maybe that’s my own Dad in me. He never really cared that much to celebrate his birthday or Father’s Day or anything. He’s a humble guy, and that’s probably rubbed off on me.

Anyway, Happy Fathers’ Day, a day in advance, for all my fellow dads out there.


Two-fer Tuesday: Kids by Miz Pink

pink-cat-childI love my kids. Sometimes I’m not so sure about other people’s kids.

Okay, I’m usually not sure of other peoples kids. Its easier to get annoyed at them but still I often smile when I see a strange baby or some other person’s toddler or preschooler galavanting around.

But as nice as kids are to have, the more important thing is being able to raise them right and the problem is that a lot of people have kids and don’t consider that.

They don’t consider whether they have the resources or patience or skill or support or anything else to put the kid on a good path.

Too many people have kids for reasons like this:

  • Hold on to a man they are afraid of losing/pin down a woman at home that man is afraid of losing
  • Because kids are so cute (or worse yet, “my kids are too big to cuddle now and I want something new to play with while I make them fend for themselves”)
  • Because I can
  • Because I don’t care to be responsible enought to bother with birth control.
  • Because if I can’t afford it, the state will pay/I can give it away/the other parent will take care of it while I split.

Having kids and raising them is a huge responsibility. I see some Christian brothers and sisters online who seem to think that the problem with today’s youth is that they don’t marry soon enough. These folks think that if kids got married and had kids earlier they’d be more responsible. I shudder to think of that. I think of big families in my extended family tree where they started young and what happened was a lot of bad parenting because there wasn’t enough maturity, or time for the kids…and then older kids are placed into parental or baby sitting roles that they aren’t ready for. I’m all for pitching in, but there were folks in my family in recent generations that basically handed the babies off to the older kids and didn’t do crap themselves half the time.

God entrusts us with these new lives and he expects us to take care of them and to take the job seriously. To do anything less is an affront and an insult.

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


Jeff Bouley

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June 2023

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