Ed died on Monday, July 22, 2013. In this year 2019, six years have passed since his untimely death, and with Leap Year in between, it also meant that it was also Monday, July 22, just last week, which means that today, Monday, July 29, 2019, is also the same Monday as when we held his funeral. It made me sad to think about this last night, to think about the general somberness and misery in our parents’ house that week, how I edited my eulogy for him on the Sunday before, and even argued with our idiot selfish cousin the night before about some reprinting he wanted to do on the program that I refused.
But I also thought about how although time has passed, although my parents lost a child and my dad had heart surgery in this time, they’re probably even more miserable than ever before. You’d think that if someone had heart surgery, they’d rethink how they want to live life. You’d wonder if someone had something so gut-wrenching and tragic happen such as losing a child that they’d make some positive changes in their life, create a new start. But our parents really haven’t done anything like that at all; instead, they barely float in their day-to-day delusional life, my mom with believing Jehovah will save her if she continues her preaching with her Jehovah’s Witness acquaintances and friends (despite never having even converted a single person), my dad with believing that if he just keeps organizing his pills, pulling more cabinet doors apart and breaking them, and accumulating more clutter and junk in the house that everything will be just fine. But it isn’t. It’s like a big accident waiting to happen. And that freaks me out because we all know that if anything happens like that, I’ll have to suck it up and deal with it.
I like to think that a lot inside of me has changed since moving out on my own, losing Ed, leaving my dysfunctional and constantly angry and resentful family. I worry less. I’m still judgmental, but I judge a lot less. Frankly, I also “care” less than I used to about even the closest people in my life, but I think that’s for the better. I used to obsess about whether certain partners were the right fit for my friends, whether they were really making the right choices for themselves, if X action was really going to produce Y result like they’d romanticize… but then finally I realized that what I perceived as “care” (or really, what my mom perceives as “care” which she instilled in me) is really a disguised form of judgment. There’s an innate sense of “I know what’s better for you than you know what is good for you” message in that, and that’s not really right, is it? I am more patient about some things, like when my colleagues are telling me they’ve had a bad day and want to discuss their parents’ alcoholism or their dad’s abusiveness towards their mom. But I’m also a lot less patient at the same time; I have a higher tendency now than ever before to cut my parents off, tell them when I think they’re doing something thoughtless or stupid, and just to tell them that they’re wrong and going to cause their own premature deaths. It’s not very Confucian of me, but I kind of don’t care. What I will tolerate from them has changed quite a bit. They may never fully acknowledge they are wrong about anything because that’s just who they are and what they always will be. But that doesn’t mean I can’t let them know they’re screwing up along the way. The truth hurts.
Ed is gone. It’s really terrible. I feel the most hurt from it every time I go back to San Francisco and leave again. I think the other thing that always gets me is the lives our parents are living and how they do little to nothing to acknowledge him in any way. I’m sure our mom does some self reflection and self blame from time to time; she’s told me a few times. But with my dad, as per usual, I’m pretty certain he’s just blocked it all out of his head. He has no methodology for handling and acknowledging emotions. Instead, he chooses to spend most of his time talking to himself, yelling and swearing in all the ways he would have wanted to if he had more courage and confronting all the people who supposedly have wronged him… including Ed and me.
Ed would be sad to see them today. Even though his relationship with them was tumultuous, I think inside, he just wanted to them to be healthy and happy; towards the end of his life, he used to tell me that he’d pray for our mom’s health every night. But we both always knew that was pretty much impossible.