my parents are not dead
and it might be weird for me to be processing their deaths before anything actually happens, or even threatens to happen.
but they’ve spoken to me and my sister openly about preparing for the inevitable, and filling out their last wills and such, and when they did, my first reaction was a huge grinning thumbs-up. because why wouldn’t that be my reaction? you’re being practical! this is important and I salute you! I’m not being sarcastic at all here. they were thinking about this stuff well in advance, because they know how terrible it is to leave your kids having to clean up the mess, when all they want to do is grieve.
my sister reportedly wasn’t so immediately encouraging, because she is better at immediately processing (and openly expressing) her emotional response than I am. I imagine that she probably freaked out, but I wasn’t there so I don’t know. I do know that she’s a lot like my mom, and anything resembling bad news is probably going to get a negative reaction right up front, regardless of intent. there is nothing inherently wrong with that. just because you don’t “take bad news well” doesn’t say anything about your inherent person-ness.
I’ve been playing in my dad’s band for several years now, and worked with him on several albums (which might eventually go onto bandcamp or similar - watch this space!). we’ve just finished his latest album, and he solicited my input in more than a few places, more or less elevating me to the role of co-producer in the course of things. part of this was because he is trusting his instincts less in his advancing age, and I think another part is in preparation for future projects.
dad told me in an email earlier tonight that he wants to co-author an album with me - something he has only done with maybe one or two of his previous professional accomplices. this is at once tremendously exciting and terrifying for numerous reasons.
earlier tonight, while waiting for the master recording to finish burning, we talked about one of his musical “idols” (whose name I unfortunately forget, but I’ll probably edit it back in when I remember it). this person apparently died some time ago, but when someone else brought him up in conversation, and insinuated that my dad thought he was actually better than his former idol, he said, yes, I am actually better than him, now. he came to this conclusion based on his most recent body of work and the fact that he has had the time to surpass his former idol.
further, he said that it was surprising to him that he actually had to think about the answer to that question, because he has never admitted that he might be better than anyone in his entire life. (I took this opportunity to educate him on the broader points of impostor syndrome, and the fact that the vast majority of people I call friends these days openly suffer from it. it makes me feel shitty to think that he had to deal with that for his entire life without knowing that it might be fucking normal.)
the effect of suddenly having this new understanding of my father, and how he subverted his own impostor syndrome - by striving to create music that nobody else did, and thus could not be compared to anything, positive or negative - just adds to the shock of knowing that, at some point, I will eventually lose him. and that’s enlightening.
I saw a falling star earlier tonight while I was thinking about all of this, and while I’m the furthest thing from religious, and the other-furthest thing from superstitious, I’m choosing to see it as a sign that he and I will have the chance to write that album together before it’s all over.