12 November 2018 Monday.
PINK is my guiding color.
Aunt Jill is my leader for this period and has told me to write my dreams, which I do. I learn that if I write a few words of what I remember from my dreams, in really quick note form, simply repeating the words that I remember, suddenly more words and images generate in my mind. They generate more words, which I write automatically and repeat if I can only think of those images. Those repetitions help trigger more dream impressions left in my mind. Its the first “method” Ive ever found to be effective for me.
My father Klaus Fischer would be 75 today.
Do the dead grow? This is my question today as I wake and think of my father who would be turning 75 today if he were alive on this earth. I feel the same grief I often feel—the grief that I simply will never see my father again in this alive world. This is the gnawing reality of life after deaths, a reality that most of us experience with a few or many people as we age. But part of that “never seeing him again” is the presumption—or—sense—that although I can talk to him, or imagine him speaking to me, or dream an encounter, he cannot converse back from a current perspective. From the perspective of a growing, changing person, one who knows and learns to navigate the world as I am learning it, as I am changing with it. There is the lingering sense that actually I don’t know him anymore, that the he he would be is a person I cannot know, a person, like me, who who learns new ways of being and is introduced to new sensibilities of the world. That somehow our relationship is stunted in time, from 1979 – 2009, the years I knew him in waking life.
Many people say that they talk with the dead, as do I, but are these conversations essentially based in nostalgia? Are they gathered words, parsed paragraphs, pieced together knowledges, like a computer who has learned from algorithms? Are they ideas about what he would have said, invented from what he was until the day he died?
I don’t have the opportunity to know my father as he would be today on earth, a 75 year old man and me a 39 year old woman. I don’t have the opportunity to know how he would have changed, and how my changes in relation to him would have affected our communication. I don’t have the opportunity to know how it would have been for him to have lived alone after my mother moved to live on her own, how his relationship with my mother would have changed. How he would have related to my brother. Had he never gotten sick, would he be taking care of his health better? Would he still be as athletic? What would define him now? Would he still be at the math department or long since retired. I don’t have the opportunity to know what he would have thought of my my career, my family, how he would have adjusted to my big constellation of a family, how he would have integrated with my children. I can imagine, and I can certainly hope. I can believe he would have supported me and loved me, I do believe he would have. But still. I feel I cannot know him because I feel that he did not—change. He is still there, in 2009. Or is he.
This morning I realize that this is a perspective. An assumption that there is no growth in death. A perspective I could have but don’t have to have. This is an assumption that my father is static in death, which, when I take a step back, is so inconsistent with the way that I imagine all the rest of the world, so much that it may be aberration of my own paradigm. I imagine that we are so in flux and so dynamic that even in a daily sense, we are exercising a million modes of passing, of crossing, that our intersectionalities are in flux. I imagine as well that we “are” NOT what we are in this year alone. That we are also the person that was, in 2009, or in 1979. We are not 2018 alone. And 2018 self is, neither, a monolith.
This is not, however, my conclusion, or a conclusion. This is not a conclusion of: therefore the dead grow. This is rather, at least, an opening. An opening to the idea that perhaps, they could. That matter, like the matter of the universe could.
And so from there, perhaps, I allow myself to speculate on something that really matters to me. That is, the way that my father related to me as a woman and to my work as a sex-positive feminist, which was really just its beginnings when he died. Its a confusing thing, because I am not sure exactly what he thought and he does not fall neatly on the side of “sexist” or “old fashioned” or “conservative” or “protectionist”. Although, sometimes, he could be. He could be belittling of my work and words as a feminist. He could be traditionalist, he could be protectionist. He said things, sometimes, that I found sexist.
When I think of my fathers internalized sexism, of course it is there. Of course it is there, of course it exists, a product of 1943 Eastern Germany wartime. A mother and three boys. A father earning the bread money. A migrant family to New Jersey. Of course, it is there. That is not to say that he was not waking. And I mean WAKING because I don’t believe that being WOKE is really about one day WAKING UP, an abrupt change somewhere between the years of 2012 and 2018. No. Being WOKE is a process of WAKING that I think also my father took and made, in the sixties, in the eighties, in every year of his life. Growing up, WAKING, changing. Never “reaching,” of course, never reaching. There were always those things, those struggles, always those words he said. And then again there were those other words he said. So I cannot say my father was THIS or THAT but in a process of CHANGE and now I wonder I wonder … is he still changing? And if so, what is the catalyst for that change, or the mitigating factors other than figments of my imagination.