I still miss my father. I don't know why but I do. Or maybe I do know why. Maybe it's not the big mystery that I sometimes think it to be. After all, he passed away twenty-five years ago. Twenty-five years ago. Such a long time. And still some of the pain won't ease.
"Ease his pain" were those three familiar words in the motion picture, Field of Dreams. Ease his pain. Who will ease my pain, Dad? Self-pity? No doubt, especially for one who likes to wallow in all kinds of things some of the time. There are people around me who sometimes help to ease some of the pain, I realise that. Then there are the times when one must bear the pain alone. Perhaps those are the times when I am actually by myself or feel that I need to hide the pain from another. Any sort of pain. Perhaps you hid your pain too a lot of the time. You were a heavy drinker, after all. You enjoyed a good drink, that was true. But it seemed that in your later years, you enjoyed it too much. What happened? Were you really merely enjoying yourself or were you hiding your pain? What happened, Dad?
There will always be those little moments when the heart remembers and one is swept away by an emotion that one recognises as the loss of a loved one. Or the loss of ... something. Something -- not just someone -- was taken away. And there are times when no words will describe the brief sadness or regret that one experiences during the course of a day. It just happens. And we deal with it quietly and privately.
A few months ago, an uncle and an aunt -- both of whom were my late father's younger siblings -- e-mailed to congratulate me after I had told them that my book had been accepted by a publisher. Both had written that they were sure my father would have been proud of me and that they were proud of me too. Those words stayed with me -- for obvious reasons -- and when I later shared them with my husband one afternoon, my voice started to shake and I wept without shame as he hugged me, grateful that another understood. Of course I was glad that they were proud of me. I hadn't expected them to say those very words but I was so very glad that they did. And how kind of them to mention my father as well. That he would have been proud of me. And of course I wanted that too. I wanted that so much.
There is so much more to say about my father, so much more that won't come to me at the moment. But I know that they will ... in time. For the memories are hidden away in secret caverns, only to be found by a curious and sad little girl -- or even a woman -- who is still finding her way and grappling with her issues. She loves to explore (although with some trepidation at times, she has to admit), whether it's a real or imagined place, and oftentimes doesn't know what she'll find or if she'll find anything at all. And sometimes a memory or an emotion pops up in the most unexpected of places. She's not always sure what she has found or what she is experiencing. They come and then they go. As simple as that.
She especially remembers the holidays with her family, when her parents took her and her brothers to the sandy beaches where she swam in the ocean or wrote in the sand. There were also the nice hotel rooms and food was plentiful. She and her brothers were lucky.
There were also nagging memories but who ever said that memories were always pleasant? For the truth was that she also stayed away from her father. That happened as well. Their paths crossed, they talked. They were still a family. But, yes, she stayed away from him when she could or when she felt that she had to.
I miss my father. He died twenty-five years ago. I only knew him for seventeen years. I was a mere seventeen-years-old, sheltered, inexperienced. Our grandmother -- our father's mother -- had passed away the year before. And I remember my father standing before her casket, which a few of her other children did as well. What had my father been thinking? What had been his memories? I wish someone had videotaped that event, and especially captured that scene, and I could watch it now and then, trying to figure out the man -- the son -- who stood before his mother's casket. And who knew -- who even had an inkling? -- that he would pass away the next year?
I still miss my father and I suppose I will just have to end with that.