My father would have been 69 today. It's been 4 years since he died. The week of the 10th - 18th is always hard. The day he passed away to his birthday. Every year the echos of grief, anger, disappointment, and longing ripple through me like a stone dropped in the water. He's been on my mind a lot lately, and in little cosmic ways I feel his presence. The two random shows we watched that both had songs from Fiddler on the Roof, The random comment or joke that sounds like something he would say, the taste and smell of something familiar to something he'd make. This week has had several lessons in forgiveness.
This pictures was taken about 20 years ago, we were doing Fiddler on the Roof with the Mountaineer players in Bainbridge. It was the last time he played the role.
Look how happy he was. I realize in this picture that he's 8 years older than I am now. It's sobering. 8 years happen so quickly. I didn't think that then, at 21. At 21 I was cocky and sure of myself, frequently embarrassed and annoyed by him. He was not a perfect man. I am not a perfect woman. The more time goes by, the more I understand, empathize, and forgive.
This picture isn't even before things got really bad. This was about 10 years ago. But I think even then, he had given up. It was a slow, awful decline. Bitterness, loneliness, disappointment, resentment, fear, pain, so much anger. From both of us. He was stubborn, incredibly. I've inherited some of that, and work to fight against it. We clashed, frequently.
He didn't approve of my choices in men, some of my friends, politics, religion, or lifestyle. I didn't really agree with his. We grew further and further apart. Till we reached a point we didn't speak for years.
I just finished a book, that frankly I hated. I think he, would have loved it. Maybe not the writing style (which I think he would have criticized), but the subject and the idea of it. He did love theology and psychology. The Shack by William P. Young. My good friend and co-worker gave it to me to read, and I forced my way through it. Partly for her, and I think partly for him too. The briefest summary ever... and maybe spoilers (sorry). - Mans daughter is kidnapped and killed, Mans family starts to fall apart. Man gets a mysterious note to go to the Shack where they found evidence of his daughters murder scene. Man goes and meets with God, Jesus and the Holy spirit and spends a weekend with them. Has several theological discussions and experiences that allow him to drop his bitterness and resentment, and find his daughters body. It reminded me of every Sunday school lesson and sermon I ever sat through and made me super uncomfortable. HOWEVER. There were some good bits on forgiveness. The anger and bitterness we cling to prevent us from experiencing love, and from healing.
Having finished that book I decided I wanted something warm and fuzzy so I reached for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I think also for him. Dad had an extensive library. Needs dictated I get rid of most of it. I didn't have the space and needed what little funds the sell of it may afford us in his keeping at the time. I did keep a few choice books.This particular copy of Little Women is a 1910 addition. Not in the best of shape. Well read and loved, with frayed binding and stained pages. I love it though. Though in reflecting on the themes and message, it is not dissimilar in ways to the Shack. As Jo and Amy squabbled in the pages, with Amy nearly drowning, and the forgiveness that follows. Again.... Anger and Bitterness keep us from experiencing love, and from healing.
Ok. I get it.
As if to test to see if I've learned anything. I get a message from an ex. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think once you love some one you always do. You can be hurt, you can be angry, things get twisted. But once you care, really you always do. So I got an apology. and a sort of explanation, and maybe that would can start to heal. Maybe we can be friends. That's good.
As I understand more of life's frustrations I understand my dad more. So much of what I love comes from him: film, cooking, writing, books, music, travel, food, exploring cultures, psychology, cats... yes maybe even a little theology. He was not good at love. I'm not that good at it either. He had many disappointments in his dreams of life. So have I. He let all of his disappointments break him. There are days I feel at the breaking point. I hope I don't break. I really hope I don't break. I hope I can still achieve some dreams. I hope I can experience love. I hope I can learn from him. Embrace the good parts (there were many) and let go of the bad (there were many of those too).
I love you Dad. I forgive you. I hope you forgive me too. I know I wasn't always easy.
About the Blog
I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore healing, food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Heal. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.