Today, like most days I thought of something I would have liked to have called my Dad and talked to him about. Like most days almost as quickly as that thought flies through, it is shot down with disproving malice, "you can't - he's dead". Cold isn't it? - Daily, yep.
I didn't light a candle for my Dad, nor did I do more than send a tweet out into the world about today being his birthday.
While there are many things to work out, I am finding one particular personal challenge to be difficult as well as rewarding. When my heart aches, when I am suffering, when I am trudging around through emotional mud to reach out and let someone in. I found myself losing friends as a teen after I would lean on them with no where else to turn. That weight was too much, too complex and being unable to take action was even sometimes traumatic for my friends so they backed away, a few forever, others just for some fresh air then they dove right back in being a steady pillar of support. I am eternally grateful.
Swallowing that prescription of letting people in went down easier tonight than normal. I first called up my best friend, went through my logical and illogical emotional stomach aches. It was soothing, relieving and helped me find words.
First off, my brother got the short end of the stick. Without getting into details his time with our Dad was limited, and that is very generous term. That makes me angry. My sister found herself alone when she needed him most, when it would have been minimal effort for my Dad to stand on her side for love and for protection. That also makes me angry. I got every other weekend, I got to go on work road trips, blabbering away asking a million questions a minute, there were a few years were I got a lot of one-on-one time. I treasure it, I do however I am still angry.
My Dad's brain cancer is not his legacy, and cancer is terrible. However, I believe the real tragedy is that my father didn't get to be the person he ultimately wanted to be. He found himself in turmoil fueled by loneliness, finances and ultimately his own fears. I feel he would have traded his vices for extra years. I know if he had been given the choice he would have traded it all to build the relationships he wanted with his children he felt he failed to learn how to do during his time.
A few years after his passing, which was in 2002, I found myself searching the internet for my brother's name. I desperately wanted to know how to contact him, send him the occasional note, I wanted to get to know him beyond the stories I had been told or the lies I had been fed. I found myself messaging, emailing and reaching out to my sister, I wallowed feeling powerless meditating on her challenges of raising a baby at 17, going through school and scrambling for support. I found myself truly lost, but then I got truly angry for the first time in my life. It was a burning healing anger that made me realize how fragile and short life really is.
This evening I was able to tell my brother's family how thankful I am that we have each other, that we get to create our own legacy and we had done all this on our own. We are dealing ourselves new cards, starting from a blank canvass while thankful at the very least our father gave us something to work with.