For my father on Father’s Day.
I forgive you. It’s okay.
I’m letting go because that is what is best for me. The weight of it, the lack of story, tradition, history, has simply become too heavy for me to carry any longer.
I’m not sure when pain started attaching itself to me. When the missed, ignored and forgotten became a part of me. It was somewhere between that Christmas and my wedding. I’m sure I picked up some more around the time my children were old enough to ask, “Who’s your dad? Do you look like him?”
Every now and then when I was growing up, usually when I least expected it, something would strike tender. I’d realize I was different until what was missing seeped in and became anger, sarcasm, envy.
This isn’t a tragic story. In fact, it’s quite banal. No drama, misunderstandings or wasted years trying, in vain, to get along, make it work. The truth is there was never anything to work out because the sore ache always came from the silence and the nothingness of the whole thing.
My father, my few memories of you, have all but drown in my present. I gave up hoping for your attention long ago and now I’m letting go of the ugliness that followed.
A hole is a hole. I can try to fill it. Pretend it isn’t there, rewrite fathers, good dads a million times and yet nothing ever changes. It never puts you on the phone, across the table, real, there.
I wonder if I would even recognize you were we to pass on the street. I’m certain I would sense it like a sudden chill on a sunny day. Warmth gone, I might hold myself look around wondering if it was going to rain. Then in the next step, as long as I kept moving, the sun would return. I might look to see if you had passed. The hollow unfamiliar feeling, that would be you.
Memories of you will never be a Paul Simon song, nor a story about a relationship, work, fishing or finding our way. Ours is a story of empty. Something that should have be there despite circumstance and wasn’t. I’m okay with that. It’s all I’ve ever known really, but the yuckiness is gone now.
I wanted you to know, on this your 44th Father’s Day, that I forgive you. Things are good. I hope you have lived the life you wanted and have found peace in the silence.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Sleep Well.