Tuesday, December 30, 2008

requiem for a bad dad

Bishop died. He kept saying, "open the door" as his daughter sat bedside, singing him quietly into the next life. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. In the last months he had painted doors and churches and naked figures and yawning graves. He was a pompous and terrible guy, with an Irish tenor (is there such a thing?) when the rest of us were singing variations on "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" he'd bust out with "Danny Boy" or some obscure 50's lounge tune. He was conflicted, closeted and guilty.

When the struggle for breath was over, Bishop's daughter quietly took his paintings down from the wall, and flew back to New York, where her ability to forgive the unforgiveable will serve her well, no doubt.

What I have always loved about crazy people is that none of that matters anymore. They have come to die, and we stand with them, haphazard guides, just this side of the open door.

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