Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Right Father for Me


Over the last several months as I watch my father slowly dying, I find myself struggling to put together some sort of letter or speech that will make it all okay. I want to tie our experiences together up into a neat little package that I can present to him. I envision myself sitting next to him in a lucid moment, my eyes tracking the movement of his hands as he struggles to untie the ribbon. I imagine my father covered by a sheet that hides the insubstantial frame of bones and skin to which he has been reduced.

I sit, not daring to breathe as he takes in the weight and purpose of this gift. I watch as his brow furrows in confusion at first, and then relaxes into comprehension. The stillness of my face finally breaks as he looks at me, eyes wet with tears and we share a perfect moment of recognition - a common understanding that what has gone before is exactly what needed to happen. For both of us. The anger and bitterness, the shame of failure in the eyes of the other, the distance and then the coming together. The acceptance of each other for who we are. The deep wellspring of love that, once found will never be capped again.

In my actual life, I feel a strong sense of inadequacy. A searching, a longing to discover the precise words or tokens that can convey my true sentiments. And now, as he fails ever more quickly, a frantic quality has come to call. I want to find a way to tell him before it is too late. There is no need for apology or regret. No alternate scenarios. He is, and always was, the only right father for me.

6 comments:

Scott from Oregon said...

I think you found the right words...

CRB-H said...

Beautiful. I've dealt with this with my mother two years ago.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Perhaps printing off this post and giving it to him.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto Scott.

What parent doesn't want to simply hear, "You were the only right parent for me." That is BEAUTIFUL, and I would image, so healing to hear.

Jerri said...

You are the very spirit of generosity, Kari. And that spirit shines through every word of this post.

It also shines through your eyes and your heart. Perhaps you'll find words that feel adequate. If not, take comfort in this: just as your heart knows the truth, so does his.

Your presence says everything.

Love always,
j

Deb said...

I agree with everything said before. Tell him what your heart speaks and let him see your loving gentle face as you do. Give both of you that gift.

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