Friday, December 07, 2012
My Daddy, My Daddy, Where did you go?
I know it’s you inside, but I’m not sure you really know it’s me sometimes.
You used to get frustrated with me for forgetting things: my purse, my keys, or stupid little things. I tried so hard to find ways to keep track of my stuff, and ways to keep from being confused and forgetful. I wanted you to be proud of me. I was doing pretty well, Dad, but there’s just so much to think about these days that it’s hard again, almost as hard as when I was a little girl. I’ve lost my car keys and had to spend hours in the cold and rain trying without success to find them. I’ve found myself on the freeway, wondering momentarily which freeway I was on. And then I worry that maybe I’m getting what you have. But my kids - your grandkids - remind me that I’ve always been this way. It’s not progressive with me, only sporadic.
I wish I could talk to Mom and maybe she’d tell me…well, I don’t know what she’d tell me. Would she hold me in her arms? Would she do that, now? And Chris! How hard it was for her when you had your stroke! You were her bastion of support, and suddenly the roles were reversed, and worse than reversed because you would get mad at her for making your life decisions.
When I visited you last summer, you saw me getting scared while watching a silly old Western. You weren’t watching the movie but you were watching me, and you said, chuckling, “You’re really into it, aren’t you?” It was fun to see, because it was the real you, peeking through, laughing at me because I was emotional about a t.v. show. It also kind of reminded me of mom’s dad, too…Charlie, to you.
Remember when you fixed t.v.’s, Dad, in your sideline business? I would join you in your basement shop and talk your ear off, and you never seemed to mind. You took me with you to lumber stores and hardware stores. You were always busy fixing something or building something, or going to Amvets or church events, or picking up a couple of young men from the Washington School for the Blind to take them with you to Toastmasters. And yes, Dad, I’m going to tell you again that they “watch t.v.”. Did I ever win that friendly argument that we had after Paul lost his vision?
You always knew you were “right”, Dad. I remember you and Chris arguing about how to pronounce German, when she took it in high school. You were always “right”, but you never yelled. It seemed to me that you were always kind.
You didn’t have “mood swings” back then. I know how much you have always loved April and her family. And I have seen what a wonderful, caring environment you have with them. But you’re trapped inside a mind that doesn’t understand the way it once did, a brilliant mind that probably still tries to understand and feels the frustration of coming up short. I have known that frustration of coming up short all my life, Dad, but only occasionally and only in little ways, not to the degree, never to the depth of it that you must experience.
When I was a child, there were times when I thought I could never be good enough. I sometimes thought that if you really knew me, you wouldn’t approve of me and love me. But when I went off to a cult and moved out of town, you loved me still, and you loved me always, no matter who I seemed to be at different times. Deep inside, I was always the same person, and I know you are the same person you always were, deep inside, Dad. I love you, Dad. I will always love you.