Friday, December 23, 2011

What's missing this Christmas.

Losing my dad is such a tricky thing. 

I go through spouts of emotional amnesia.  Times when my soul feels lighter and the thought of my dad doesn't make the depths inside ache so much.  I think of him, miss him, and find some sort of peace with that.  I carry him around with me like a comforting blanket, and it actually feels nice.

And then, just as suddenly as the lightness came, it is gone unexplicably.  Tears well up out of nowhere.  As I am reading some story, or hearing some tune, or witnessing some seemingly insignificant interaction.  The tears are there, and then comes the memories.  The stories I've told myself over and over.  The feelings I felt were gone- they come back. 

I will miss my dad this Christmas. 

One of those familiar memories cropped up today and it was accompanied with welling tears.  It was towards the end of my dad's life, unbeknownst to me at the time, and I sat with my dad in an empty lobby.  He sat close to me in a wheelchair, unable to truly communicate.  The distance between us was unbearable. We may have been physically close, but his awareness was miles away.  His soul was close, but his mind was far away. I tried to communicate my feelings to him.   How sorry I was for everything, how much I forgave him for anything he still felt guilt about, how much I wanted him to let go of that guilt. 

I needed reassurance that it was ok that I lived miles away in California.  I wanted him to tell me what I already knew, that he would want this for me.  If he was more aware, he would certainly want me to live out my dreams.  I wanted reassurance that he just wasn't able to give me.

 I spilled out my heart, and he didn't understand.  He just couldn't.  And that, that, was the worst.  That distance.  That inability to be heard.  It still plays out in my life over and over, and I want to let it go.  That familiar aching. 

I have to let it go.

This beautiful song hits SO close to home. 

"You will lose someone you can’t live without,
and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp."
— Anne Lamott

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