Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Remembering Dad

I am often flummoxed by the things people know, or at least profess to know, about their loved ones. I have friends who can wax for hours about the accomplishments or proclivities of their parents, not only recalling details from their own memories of direct experience, but cite all sorts of tidbits they've heard about. This can stir my inner world to the point where I wonder what is wrong with me.

I know so little about my father and his life prior to marrying my mother when he was 23 and she a mere 18. My memories of him are primarily painful ones that twist my stomach into knots. His fuse was short. We were a family of 6 with an upward trajectory socio-economically, and then things fell apart. We left; he stayed.

During the years following the divorce, my siblings and I took the Greyhound bus to visit him every other weekend. When my brother was old enough to drive, it was his job to get us there and back, all four of us navigating an ever-shifting landscape. I have no doubt that Dad gave it his all, trying to keep the connection intact and do his part, but I can tell you, it was no picnic; ever.

I did plenty of work in therapy during the early years of my marriage to unravel the tangle of family stuff I brought across the country with me, and much of that work centered around my father and my fear of him. Time brought healing and clarity; he changed, I changed, we reconciled little by little. 

During my last visit to his home in PA a year before his death, an extraordinary thing happened. Dad was sitting on his porch enjoying the summer day and I went outside to join him. He was frail then, spoke in whispers, and often stared as if in another place, which I suspect he was. I sat near him. He looked at me, really looked at me, as though seeing me for the first time. I remember his hands, cupping the arms of the rocking chair. "You're such a pretty girl," he said, and just like that, I began to cry. I had never heard such sweet words from my father and I did what you would have done: I said thank you and hugged him gently.

I've been thinking of Dad a lot today; it's his birthday month, and well, sometimes I miss him. Tonight I made a batch of Brazilian Black Bean soup. I hummed and sang the entire time. Both my parents had that habit; Mom hummed and sang; Dad whistled and sang. I love that I do it too! 

Dad learned to be kind to his children before he died. I learned to say thank you. We're still reconciling; these things take time. Remember that.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Faith does a quick breast check before
we start the final miles of day three, 2007.
Things that bring Faith to mind:
the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure
rascally behavior
emotional risk-taking
port-a-caths
my LPD
belly laughter
1:1 time with my nieces
foot massage
hummingbird sightings
wind in the trees
Pam's Kitchen!
second-hand clothes that fill the bill
resourcefulness
self-directed behavior
toilet paper trails!
intimate connections
celebrations!
Ashland summers
kd lang
courageous living
courageous dying
Dr Rockhill, aka Rocky
the bounty of community
choosing our legacy
presents!
soft-as-silk Sinanan skin
my one and precious life. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

A wedding 41 years in the making

The family farm along the Shenandoah River is being transformed into Wedstock as I write. My sister Georgie and her dear man, Bill, will stand still long enough to exchange vows on Sunday afternoon. Let the party begin!    

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You and me, him and her

Walking and swimming provide me precious opportunity to clear my head and to see things in a new light. Yesterday I pondered 4 types of people: 
those who claim their space
those who claim others' space
those who are reluctant to claim space in any amount
those who observe how others claim space

I am intrigued by all of this: how we come into this world, how we find our footing (or not), how we exist and how we ambulate, how we interact.

Give me an aisle seat or a place on the periphery over the boxed in locale any day. Give me a place at your side and trust me to know how close to stand. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Freewill offering

Abbey releases her wishing leaf, bound for the north sound.
Ah, summer. How you gift us with your bright light, blue skies, verdant landscapes, sparkling waters. Generous, inviting, hospitable, gregarious even. How you prepare the way for autumn glory.

I ask you, how do you weave your magic, year after year?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The power of music

At the symphony last night.  Violins crying.  Piano solo, whisper soft; the hall shrouded in a silence like an underwater world.  Tears falling, remembering.