Occasionally, a flood of emotions rolls in from out of nowhere and knocks you down. Such was the case yesterday evening, though the sadness began creeping its way in along with the back pain that showed up just after lunch. Reminding me that I ought to have left my desk for a least a short walk, jolts of fire shot down my left leg every time I adjusted my position in my chair. By the time I was finally leaving for the day, I was knee deep in pain of every sort. The root cause, or etiology, staring me in the face.
Earlier in the day, I glanced at the calendar, preparing to turn it to the next month. July 31st was Dad’s birthday; I think he would have been 72 years old. The melancholy I was feeling was different than what everyone on FB might have guessed I was feeling. Their attempts to reassure me only served to make me shake my head. They didn’t know. How could they? I’ve only shared this stuff with you.
Sure, I was feeling grief and loss, but not for an inability to celebrate with him. He was never into that. At least not with his children. The grief I was feeling was for the loss of ever having a chance to get to know that man I called “Dad.”
The few memories from childhood of hanging out with Daddy seem to have gathered cobwebs of conflicting images that aren’t particularly pleasant. Rather than entertain these unpleasant images, I’ve let all everything become buried. Apparently, daughters are not supposed to do that on their father’s birthdays. Evidently, it is our duty to dust off the cobwebs at least once a year.
Therefore, here are some of the good memories which I’d like to preserve:
- My dad running along beside me as I felt the freedom of riding a bike, balancing on two wheels for the very 1st time.
- Establishing an alliance with him as we teamed up against the boys for a game of neighborhood football.
- Helping him mow the lawn early on Saturday mornings.
- Looking over from the starting blocks of a swim meet and seeing him there to cheer me on.
- Sitting on his lap as he watched the TV: football, wrestling, and other things I had no interest in.
- Neighborhood basketball games in front of the house where I wasn’t the only one who thought my dad was the coolest dad on the block.
We’ll leave it at that. All the rest, the disappointment, longing to know he loved us, and unanswered questions can all wash away in the flood.