Written during an annual remembrance of my Dad, I THOUGHT addresses a myth regarding the finality of death. Other’s may relate to the images of distance and closeness. It reminds me that we seldom have ideal relationships with our parents. Often there are leftovers when they die. In some very important ways, our relationship with each parent (or guardian) continues after their death. I have discovered a deeper relationship with my dad in the years and experiences since his death. I now understand him at a depth that I could never have imagined possible.
I thought I had felt all I
Had to feel for you.
I thought our years of struggle
To be what we were for each other
Had extracted all the tenderness
All the grief
All the sympathy
I thought the grave
Would be but dim reminder of losses incurred
Not scream finality
Not close any remaining door.
I though my hopes for you
Had long since been exhausted
That I held no remaining longings
No graspable ravels to deaths dull shroud
I thought faint tenderness would hide itself
Moments your touch opened my soul
The balm of your presence
Quieting goblins in the night
I thought life had left me
No remaining vestiges
Nothing to prick this conscience
To spin dark dreams
I thought that this would be the end
That grave’s grim grasp
Would free me
Would close the covers of this story
I thought I would no longer need to weep
I was wrong
On the Death of Dad
January 2, 2014 at 7:11 am
This poem has become dearer to me as the years advance. My continuing life with dad has allowed me to release the feelings of guilt for nursing sustained resentment for his having failed me, for not being the kind of dad I thought I needed and should have been entitled. Over the years I have come to recognize the insulting nature of my expectations and begin to frame the question, “what did I not provide for him that he as my father had a right to expect?” As I have released resentment and its attending frustration along with any sense of entitlement, I have come to truly appreciate him and the many gifts he attempted to offer.
In his own right he was a truly gifted man; a teacher, writer, inventer, chef, gardner, problem solver, carpender, gifted woodworker, meticulous to detail, electrician, mason, caregiver, geaneologist, taxonomer, botonist, brother, husband, and father.
I have come to realize that my problems with Dad largely stemed from My problems recieving what he had to give. As older child I got caught in an emotional triangle between my parents and that colored everything. With my own advancing age I have allowed myself to release much of the disabling resentment and appreciate the person.