I like to keep things funny around here. I enjoy laughing, joking, and just being silly with as much inappropriateness as possible! Maybe it’s how I choose to cope with “life” stuff. Everyone handles things in their own way. NO way is wrong, just different. Anyway…I wanted to get serious for a minute. The thing is , this is what is on my mind right now. I put myself out there to be real and true, so sometimes it just isn’t that funny. Every year around this time, “spring” and about 5 days before my birthday, I end up getting these strange feelings of some unresolved stuff cropping up. It’s funny because the old adage “time heals all wounds” …in some cases never seems to apply. I am not sure if time “heals” the wounds, or you just become used to the feelings of loss, disappointment or whatever it is, and find better ways of coping with what had happened in your life. We all have a story. We all are on a journey and we all experience different things. This post is about my dad. The very first man I ever knew…who I never knew! That statement has so much more meaning than I may even be able to explain.
My parents were big hippies from the 60’s. They lived in the heart of San Fransisco on Haight St.and Ashbury out of a VW bug. Free love and all that! They lived in sandals, smoked pot, and believed in rights for everyone! My dad was very against racism of any kind, and believed in basic human rights for all. Some of the greatest things I learned from that man were that everyone is equal no matter race, culture, or differences. Only as an adult can I look back now and see that he stood up for those things. As a child, I never felt like he accepted me as I was. He was also a raging, and I mean raging alcoholic. My life was anything but “normal”. I really don’t believe in that word anyway. NOrmal does not exist, it is only a state of mind. A thought if you will. I believe thoughts are really what make us who we are. They are what define us and make us different from each other. They really mean nothing though. They only mean something to the person having them. Anyway…I spent a big part of my childhood fearing my dad, and really never feeling like I connected or even knew him at all. I realized that when I became a mom. All of a sudden I had this little life that meant everything to me, that I would die for on the spot. Yet in my head I couldn’t understand why my own dad did not feel the same about me. Why did he not see me as I am, and love me as I am? Of course it took many years for me to realize that was simply not true. He did love me…in the only way he could. My relationship with my dad changed when I stopped seeing him as my dad and instead started seeing him as a human being. When I was able to walk away from some unreal expectation of what I felt I was suppose to have in a dad, only then could I really understand his love. I saw him as the little boy that at the age of 7 was left on a doorstep because his mother left with a man that did not want children. I saw him as the child that was horribly abused by his own alcoholic father, beaten, and left alone. I finally saw him. I saw his life, and what he had to overcome. I also realized that in his mind, he WAS doing it differently for his kids. It changed my perception. Just think if we could all realize that every journey is fraught with so many different battles that we do not always understand, so how can anyone judge another without the knowledge of what they have endured. My dad struggled his whole life to overcome, and eventually in the end…he just felt that he was not strong enough. 5 days before my birthday, he walked on the freeway, jumped in front of a truck, and took his own life. I remember the phone call from my sister like it was yesterday. Anyone who has lost someone to suicide knows that it is one of those things that you never really come to a place of understanding about. It leaves you with so many holes. The questions of…could I have said something, could I have changed it, what made him think that all hope was lost, and the only option was to take that step? I will never understand that moment that he felt there was no other option. I spent a lot of time wondering why things couldn’t have turned out different. I may never understand that, but I have made peace with the relationship I did have with him. I remember the moments that we did have, like when I was a kid and he got in the pool with us and threw us over his shoulder, or when he coached the teams that we played for. I remember right after I became a mom, and I went to visit him, and I confronted him about why he didn’t love me. I wanted to know why I wasn’t good enough. He looked at me and said something I have never forgotten and I have used so much in my life. He said ” I have always loved you, … things just aren’t always the way you perceive them to be.” He picked up a piece of paper, showed it to me, and asked me what I see. It was a white piece of paper. I said..”it’s a simple white piece of paper.” He said to me…” NO, it isn’t, it is a very beautiful blue picture.” He then flipped it over to show me the side he was looking at…and you know what, he was right. I was so sure what I saw was the absolute truth, but once I saw his side I realized his truth was absolute to him, and it is not always what we think it to be. That moment was one of many moments that helped me to peace and understanding. Yes…I wish I had the chance to have known him better. I wish he could have known my children. It just wasn’t the way it happened. I am at peace about it. I will always question why he took that step, but I am at peace now. I loved him, in the only way that I knew how to. Of course it never feels like it is enough. I also know that everything we experience in this life is just taking us to the next step. Helping us to grow, and become whatever it is that we are suppose to become. Maybe this moment of opening my heart, and putting it out there is the moment that will help someone struggling with this very thought. I hope so. To just know that someone else has been through it, and understands, and knows that you will make it….can be very comforting.
Boy…putting your heart out there really is scary, but it’s my reality. We all have our reality, and our journey…no one worse or better than another’s. So here I am, in another spring, looking at the flowers blooming, hearing the birds chirping (my dad LOVED birds), knowing the pending days of summer are right around the corner, and wondering what it would be like if my dad could be standing here with me in this exact moment, and I could share my heart with him. Maybe he knows….maybe he is here in this moment. All I know is that LOVE is truly the miracle of this life. Being able to love, and share it… there is nothing greater that you can do. I know my dad loved me. LOVE as much as you can, everything in your world will feel right when it comes from love.