I knew I was heading to BookCon. (And by the way, BookCon – meeting, and signing my book for, 100 strangers in less than 30 minutes – was so, so cool!) I knew I needed to remind Danny (my dad) that I’d written a memoir and to tell him that it was being published. I knew I was hoping to tell him in person, but – partially because of the book pub date and how busy that’s been keeping me – I haven’t been able to make it to see him.
So I decided I would have to tell him on the phone.
To say that I was nervous doesn’t begin to capture what I was feeling. A bit nauseated. Anxious. Edgy.
What if he gets mad at me? What if he asks me about it? What if he wants to read it? What if he doesn’t react at all?
The possibilities were many, and few of them seemed positive. I expected to get off the phone with him shaking. Or maybe crying. Or just feeling even more sick to my stomach. I thought of getting back-up – someone I could check in with before and after the call, in case I needed support.
Then Danny called me. The bad and sad news is that he has been getting physical therapy again, so he has been able to walk a little bit again…but he’s on Medicaid and Medicaid only pays for physical therapy while you’re improving. As soon as you plateau, they stop the therapy. And Danny had once again plateaued at about 100 feet.
He was, understandably, upset, and he called me to see if I could arrange for him to get physical therapy in some other way. Any other way. I told him I doubted we could. I told him I’d look into it. Then I told him about the book.
“Dan,” I started, “you may remember – I told you a while back – that I’ve written a memoir.”
“Well, I’ve got a publisher, and it will be out in September.”
“Thank you. I wanted you to know.”
That was it. That was enough. As my husband said, that was probably the best I could have hoped for. Danny’s not ever effusive. He didn’t explode. He didn’t say he wanted to read it. He doesn’t read anymore – since the stroke – and I guess he must have pretty much known he wouldn’t want to read it.
I don’t try to slam either of my parents in to the moon and back. I just wrote what I remember, what happened from my point of view. My brother says I haven’t been critical enough of everyone and everything – but, again, it’s what I remember and how I saw it…and see it now. That being said, my parents don’t look so good in the book. They may have done the best they could at the time, but that best is generally seen as lacking.
I’m pretty certain Danny would be hurt if he read it, and so I’m glad that he can’t and won’t. I don’t need him to understand my perspective. I no longer need him to grasp how I was hurt, or to apologize. Somewhere in my healing, I guess, that need has dissipated. Somehow I’ve been able to fill a few of the holes inside me and therefore need him to fill them less.
I just needed him to know that it was going to be out there. In public. A real book. Soon.
I just told Danny about my book.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
That is so beautiful, Lisa!
You are so right, in the end it really all comes down to our sphere of influence. The fact that you didn’t need or longed for a specific reaction from him is really powerful.
Thanks for sharing & reminding us of this important truth!
Thank you Julia!!
Thank you Julia!!
Atta girl…. whew, huh?!
Hi Lisa, I read your well written memoir. Matty Bertolini has been to visit your father twice in the past three weeks, wheeling him around the grounds. We are planning on buying Danny a CD so he can listen to music and audio books.
Hi Richard, Wow to hear from you and thank you! That is wonderful that Matty is visiting Danny. I hope Danny actually uses the DC player…. xoxo