when papa bought this jeep it was the ugliest bright orange monstrosity i'd ever seen... but it was loud and maybe that's all that mattered... in a matter of months it was so pretty.. cream paint.. heavy duty tow bar and back hitch... it even had these switches where a radio might go that turned on lights and fans.. i am sure they had a bigger purpose but i just enjoyed pretending to be in a space ship.. i was probably much to old to be playing make believe with that thing.. but it was fun none the less.. the seats perpetually smalled of dust and dirt from so much off roading... it smelled amazing.. like the desert
this photo is of my mom, dad and brother bear at the river bottom.. picture perfect day don't you think?
that jeep...we had so much fun on that thing... not just the trips and death defying maneuvers but there were little things i remember.. when the far off clouds looked just a smidgen darker than the ones over head my dad would invite us for a ride... to go look for rain... some nights he'd pile us girl cousins into it and drive to an abandoned burned up house on van buren ave. and tell us ghost stories...
dad had taken a photo of it and framed it.. a photo of just the jeep.. that still makes me giggle... anyway... april 2009 was also the month when he sold it... we were dealing with so much with the progression that the cancer had taken... the selling of the jeep affected me and it became the topic of the 3rd letter in my journal.. the selling of this jeep lead to the most vivid real dream i have ever had of my tata (maternal grandfather).. i will go on any record in saying that it was more than a dream.. losing my tata so many years ago was such a shock to my young mind and affected me in ways that i am only now understanding though the loss of my dad...this was more than a dream.. it was a message, a visitation if you believe in that kind of thing...
april 26, 2009
you sold the jeep to mark (my cousin) yesterday. i was so sad. i remember the day you brought it home. it was the brightest color orange i had ever seen. i remember when i was standing behind it and it back fired on my inner thigh. i was crying and you put a cold soda on my leg. did you know i still have black bits embedded in my thigh from that day?
last night i couldn't quiet my mind. the memories just kept flooding in. the worst part is all this made me realize that one day you will only been in my memories as well. it breaks my heart to know that i will only see you in pictures and will never get to hug your flesh and bone again. when i finally did fall asleep i did not deem of you. i dreamed of tata. it was so real dad. i could smell him. it was so clear and vivid that it left me with so many emotions today.
in the dream emilio (my brother) and i are sleeping in the living room of the old house in tolleson. emilio is on the sofa, which mom would hate, and i am on the recliner chair. tata is sitting on the coffee table and he is watching emilio sleep. he shakes his head as if to indicate that he can't believe how much he has grown (my tata passed when my brother was very young and at the point in this dream he is 15 years old and very very tall). he sees that i see him and he motions me to him, i hug him and i feel the rough cotton of his brown flannel shirt against my cheek. i breathe in the oil on his hair and the cigarette smoke in the fibers of his shirt and i cry, and cry. i tell him i don't want to lose you. i say that i don't ever want to miss you the way that i miss him. he takes my face in his hands and starts to say something and i can't hear him. i tell him i can't hear him and he just shakes his head and looks away but there are tears in his eyes. and then i wake up. when i woke up my pillow and face were wet. i was crying in my sleep.
i tried to fall back to sleep and i succeeded but every dream i had after that was of you.
i know why i dreamed of you and tata. i am angry at you dad. i am angry that you sold the jeep. i understand why you sold it. you weren't using it and it does deserve to be used but right now, at this point, it feels too much like you are tying up loose ends and i am not ready for that.
i practice this conversation in my head sometimes. in this conversation i say that it is okay to give up the fight, it is okay to stop the chemo. i tell you that i would rather you feel good for the time you have left on this earth. i wondered if practicing this conversation meant that i was getting stronger in my understanding of all this. i wondered if maybe i was ready to let you go. but that is not what it means at all. what it means is that i am scared to see you sick. that i don't want to see my big strong dad sick and fragile. but is our need to see you strong causing you to ignore your body? could we push you to go too far with treatments simply by needing you?
i will see you in 6 days dad. i can't wait but i would be lying to say that i wasn't scared. i am more than that dad, i am terrified!
it's funny.. just after my dad passed i had to come back to michigan and back to school.. my last semester in school had started and my last class was a writing class... the instructor would give us an off topic to write about.. like our favorite place to play as a child...i thought i had written about my mom and dad's closet but when i read it over i realized it was about the smell of leather.. boots and belts and morphed into a piece about my dad and the way smell is ingrained in us from birth and that in Heaven i will know him by smell... i bring this class up because i think that is what happened here.. i began to write the letter in regards to him selling the jeep but that lead to my admittance of fear.. and what i was really afraid of... i understood death was a natural part of life.. i never asked "why him"... but i was so afraid of feeling that loss again.. that longing i still have for my tata... and the fear of seeing the man i needed most.. helpless... then ultimately questioning the concept of "fight" in terms of cancer...
anyway.. there are 2 more entries that i plan to share.. one on the 31st and the last on memorial day.. i haven't read them since i wrote them so i am a bit apprehensive to see what other realizations i have yet to unleash..