This may be the first time I’ve been in San Francisco for Ed’s birthday since he passed, and how funny it is that this time when I am in town for his birthday, Kaia is now here with us. Coming back to San Francisco and leaving have never really been easy for me… pretty much since forever. When Ed was around, I always felt guilt that I was leaving him in the abusive environment of my parents. I always wanted to support him more, but never knew how to. Then, he died. I always have lots of conflicting thoughts and feelings around coming and being home– mostly because of Ed and how he should be here but isn’t; my parents’ mental health; the hoarding and clutter and dilapidated state their home is in. To me, the house is cursed. I still occasionally fantasize about burning it down. But I realize it resembles hell to me only downstairs. As soon as you are on the third floor where my aunt and her roommate live, it actually feels warmer both temperature-wise and in terms of its ambiance. It feels brighter; there is more light. She actually decorates and maintains her home so that it feels pleasant to be in.
In my parents’ home, it does not feel welcoming at all. It feels dark, desolate, and there is literally a cold draft running through the house that you can feel if you are walking barefoot. It comes from the sunroom. The level of clutter and hoarding always seems a little worse every time I come home. In my mind, there are a few times when it’s gotten heightened: the first time I really noticed it was my first visit home a year after I graduated from college; every subsequent visit there has been more accumulation of junk. And it really skyrocketed after Ed died. It’s almost like to make up for Ed’s presence, my dad started hoarding more things and having most surfaces of the house that are meant for sitting… not sittable, if that’s even a word (it doesn’t look like a word). The breakfast table seats have perpetually been covered in food stuff, cans, and appliances. My mom said that my bed and Ed’s are always covered with piles of paper and other random things when I am not there. The physical clutter always makes me feel more stressed and annoyed every time I am there. And when I say even the slightest thing about it to my mom, she gets mad and tells me I am causing trouble and to just stop talking about it.
I always hoped that as my parents aged that they would finally do things to enjoy life and be more comfortable: renovate the kitchen and have it be easier to use instead of having all these random tables and stools everywhere with paper bags and old newspapers everywhere; create fixtures in the bathroom that would make it easier to bathe and shower in; actually make use of all the space they have in their house, which actually is a LOT of space for two people. But instead, they do nothing and seem to only make it more uncomfortable as time goes on. The amount of time my parents spend separating out compost and trash is completely insane. My hope is based in just that: hope. It’s not rooted in anything they’ve ever indicated they wanted. I really don’t know what they are doing with their lives. I wonder what Ed thinks looking down at all this, wondering what the hell our parents are doing. I have no idea what they live for. My mom loves to talk about how depressed she is, but she doesn’t do anything to help herself, and this was even before Ed died, so it’s not just because of that.
I wish our parents the best. I really do. I just wish they’d learn to stop and enjoy life and all the privileges they had instead of picking fights about stupid, senseless things. It probably won’t happen, but I still wish it would.
I wonder if Ed were still alive today if he’d still be at home. It would be an even worse hell in many ways if he was still living there with them, likely getting tortured alive. My mom was never going to be at peace with Ed, alive or dead, as awful as it sounds.
Happy 43rd birthday, Ed. I am happy you are free from the hell that is that house on 20th avenue and that you are enjoying yourself truly, somewhere out there. You are free… free from all the pain, suffering, torture of that miserable house. You are free. But our parents are not and likely will never be.