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dark clouds
2005-04-27

When good things are happening to me, when I am laughing a lot, feeling Ďnormalí and dare I say happy or at least content, I never think that dark clouds and bad things are just around the corner, ready to burst the bubble. This is why I donít think I am a pessimist. I wouldnít call myself an optimist either. I am probably best described as a realist with pessimistic tendencies. I donít expect or wait for bad things to happen, they just do, so I ride the highs knowing that gravity will come into play soon. I donít hold back when I am riding the highs, I go full throttle, but as always the highs end in a heaped pile.

For example, before Christmas things were going along swimmingly. Work was going ok (better than for a long time), I liked the new direction my photography was taking, I had a small, though close group of friends, I was starting to date a fantabulous boy and all was well with my family. Then the call from home came. ĎYour dad collapsed at work and is in ICU. We donít know anything else for nowí. My head was spinning. Had he been sick for a while and they just didnít tell me? Did he tell me he was sick in code and I was too busy reading emails or tidying up to pick up on his hints? How serious was it? Turns out it was serious. My dad spent nearly 2 months in hospital, one of those months was in ICU. My mum, by all accounts was a zombie; driving across town before work to visit my dad, then driving back to go to work only to take the same route after work to spend the evening with my dad before returning home to get a few hours sleep so that she could do the whole thing again the next day. She was beside herself and I felt helpless. I kept thinking that if I was home I could ease her burden. I felt like the selfish child, doing my own thing half way around the world. My dad has only now gone back to work, part time and on light duty, but he is in the all clear. During those months I stopped taking photos, lost interest in work again, pushed the only 2 people I would consider friends away, lost the boy and retreated so far inside myself I started to question my sanity.

As my dadís health improved so did I. I could hear him improving over the phone. I could hear both his and my mumís strength improving. The weather began to improve, I apologized to the people I hurt, I got back into work and I picked up a camera again. I began to socialize and I started to laugh again. I was myself, or closer than I could remember for a while.

Then yesterday morning I get a call from home that turned my whole world around. Not just my world, but my folks world, my sisterís and her family. Itís not my dad, he is fine. I canít say what has happened just now because I am still in shock, I am ashamed, embarrassed, so very sorry for my folks because they are blaming themselves. I am angry, I am sad. I want to go home, for support, but my folks insist itís not necessary now and theyíll let me know if they need me. When my dad was sick, telephone conversations were only about my dadís health and how my mum was holding up. With each call I hoped for good news, eventually I did get good news. This time while eventually all will pass, it will never be forgotten. The black cloud over our family will remain, forever and probably for generations. Each telephone conversation begins with Ďanything new?í. There is no laughter in our conversations anymore, just tears, anger, shame. The hardest thing I have ever had to deal with is hearing my folks crying over the phone. I should be there comforting them, dealing with all the shit that has to be done now, taking the responsibilities away from them because they shouldnít have to deal with that kind of thing, especially at this time in their lives. I want to hug my parents, tell them that everything will be ok, that it will all pass, but they will know and I will know that I am lying, because nothing will ever be the same. This is just too big, affected too many people for it to go away and be forgotten.

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