Where to begin? Yesterday, I started to write an entry about the ups and downs of the past few weeks, and it ended up becoming a bit of therapy for me, over-dramatic and emotional. I put it away.
So, I sit here looking at a blank page, trying to pull my thoughts together and nothing’s happening. Oh, I get some greeting card sentiments, some pretentious crap that I type out and delete when I realize that I’m typing for typings sake, and not to create anything I want to keep. Not to communicate.
One thing I know for sure is that I’m still sort of stunned and feeling very nostalgic, very bittersweet about a billion things.
My dad had a heart attack on Friday. He’s okay now. Well, he has a stent in an artery, and two other blockages which worry the heart specialist. He’s also diabetic, a smoker, and underweight. So, he didn’t die; he’s home; and according to his call yesterday, he’s “feeling pretty good.” But he’s still in the woods, really. I’m not certain he realizes that it’s up to him to get himself out.
And though, thank God, I didn’t lose my dad this weekend, I think I lost something else precious: my illusion that my parents will always be in this world with me. That’s a toughie. My heart is pounding as I write that. My parents will not always be in this world with me. Oof.
And, you know, my relationship with my dad is a complicated one, with many painful twists and turns. After my sister called with the news Friday morning, I spent the drive from home to Hometown, IN revisiting and cataloging memories from my thirty years with Dad. There are the dark ones – some of the worst in my life – and yet, there are sweet ones, too. How to you keep them all, honor them all? How do you treasure the sweetness, while the hurt from the bitter is still fresh and new like it happened today?
Just before we left our house, on Friday, I grabbed some paperbacks (all childhood books, upon reflection) I thought I might want for distraction. Tucked away in a copy of On The Banks of Plum Creek was a scrap with this printed on it:
Those who remember that we must come to an end in this world, their quarrels cease at once. –Dhammapada
Dad, I forgive you. But I don’t – can’t – forget. What you’ve given me, good and bad, is your legacy. What I learn from it is mine.
I love you Daddy. I really do.