(A Daughter's Look at Love and Loss)
As I stated in my previous post, "I honestly haven't a clue about what will show up here". Well, I now have a clue as to "what" will comprise this entry. I have had one of those surreal weeks and it's only Wednesday. There is a full moon due on Friday so maybe that has something to do with it all. Then again... I will not bore anyone with the details but it has brought me to, and confirmed my decision, in choosing the piece you are about to read. (You can click the back button now... 3... 2... 1... Okay, you're still here...)
This is an essay I wrote about my father a few years after he passed away. To this day (I am 57 years old), I am still my father's daughter and will remain so forever.
I admit to my literary ignorance when I say that I do not know who wrote, "Time heals all wounds". Nor do I know if it is the complete quote, the correct quote. I do know, however, that it is not necessarily a true quote. Though the jury is still out, I may (and probably will) find that I have spoken out of turn... But, it is sooner, not later, for me at least, and the wounds still follow me around.
My father's name was G. Curtis Wilson. He was a kind, gentle, caring man. He was a wonderfully loving father. He was also a human being with a number of thread-bare patches in his moral fabric that he felt needed no repair. He died September 14, 1993 at the age of seventy-five, of prostate cancer. Though he fought the battle with his disease bravely for three years, he knew in his heart he would eventually lose. He did.
Toward the end, Dad began looking forward to being with my mother again. (She had left him behind nine years earlier, almost to the day.) I would find him in the early morning hours talking with (never to) her, disclosing how immensely he had missed her over the years. He would always be sure to ask, during each of these dialogues, for her forgiveness for all the sins he had committed during their separation. Whether or not she would accept his apologies made him laugh, but I could see the true disquietude in a very tired face. Before the second hand would pass "Go" too often, he would grin like the Cheshire Cat, tell me how Mom was going to "give him hell" as soon as she laid eyes on him again, and pour himself more of the back water he called coffee. With each passing hour I grew more aware of the wounds he had suffered during my mother's long fight on the breast cancer battlefield. It also became apparent to me that time had not healed those wounds; they only kept my father from ever being whole again. Now it was my turn to try and accept the wounds death inflicts upon all of us.
I am an "only" child - an adopted one at that. (Something I will be thankful for all the rest of my life.) I had immeasurable love for my parents. I still do. But, when my mother died, I chose not to carry the burden of sorrow around with me. My eighteen years in the medical field had kept me clinically sheltered from grief and I embraced the distance. Little did I realize I had left my father with the monumental task of mourning for both himself and me. I had refused to let the inescapable reality of death put my wounds on public display. Though he never questioned it, I don't feel Dad ever understood that unwillingness.
This summer I saw my forty-sixth birthday. It was also be the sixth anniversary of my father's "leaving here to join your mother". (Her name was Audrey S. Wilson) Long ago I forgave her for leaving Dad to fend for himself. Something he did not want responsibility for from time to time. And something he relished in bringing to my attention again and again, as if I were unaware of his existence, his personal drop in the bucket of time. Likewise, I have forgiven my father for starting a new journey shortly after my fortieth birthday. Though quite impossible to do, I tried not to understand why he had died and searched for an eternity for that clinical shelter which had protected me years before. I did not find it. So now, even through all the acknowledgments of loss, processes of forgiveness, and acceptance of the inevitable, the wounds still linger as reminders that in a world of so many, I am left alone to mend. It may be true that time will heal all wounds, but I have to admit, at this point in time, you can call me a skeptic. Maybe next year I'll change my mind...
A year after writing that piece, I had not changed my mind about time and wounds. Since then, ten more years have passed and I have altered my thoughts on the subject. The wounds do not heal. But, each of us finds our own form of bandages to hold ourselves together, look fondly upon our lost ones rather than only in sorrow, and become able to keep their memory safe within our own selves.
Again, can't promise were this blog will lead. But, as Talking Heads put it (and we'll see...):
We're on a road to nowhere
Come on inside.
Takin' that ride to nowhere
We'll take that ride.