these days aren’t numbered

February 3, 2009

I quit counting. It’s not really my nature to track like that, anyway.  My dad’s been dead two weeks.  At some point I’ll stop counting the weeks.

Today I had this weird surge of adrenalin. The sun came out after almost a week of fog, which was part of it. And I got back on my bike after almost two weeks of driving and riding the bus, which likely added to the mix. This year I’ve learned that little things like that do add up and mean something to me, so I don’t want to play them down; they are important. But I got a foreshadow of this feeling last week. And I dunno how to quite explain it but to say there is something amazing being revealed to me, and it is that I know myself.  I know myself in this way I wasn’t sure I did or even could, and in this way that only time was gonna tell me if I was right.  Maybe the closest analogy would be to having a child and finding out that the thing you were rolling the dice on was true — that you would love being a parent

For me it was that I reached out to my dad about 12 years ago. I’d quit my job a the Shelter and was in a place of being wholely untethered and I wrote him this very short letter, basically saying I only know a handful of things about you and I’d just like to know you better while I can. Actually Heidi encouraged me to do this. And when he called on the phone to reach back, she also encouraged me to return his message, his “this is your pappy” message, even though I was freaking out because I had no context for the exchange. I remember our call. It was short. He told me “I’m working on a response”. And then on x-mas that year he gave me a 14 page, hand written letter. I’ve mentioned it here before. It was intense, mostly about the war. Since then we’ve tried as best we could to go about the business of making ourselves known and of knowing each other, something I don’t think we could do until I was an adult.

But back to my original point about self revelation, the endeavor of getting to know each other was something I was rolling the dice on, in that it would make a difference to me when he died. I was betting that the right thing to do for me was letting go of the need for him to be my father and detaching from the desire for him to make amends to me for not being a regular and dependable part of my life. In fact, I was agreeing that we wouldn’t even talk about that, the obvious part of why we were even trying to get to know each other, he being my father and me being his child.

Sitting here now, I know I rolled right. I bet the right hand. It’s incredibly, incredibly comforting because with lots of other relationships, ‘m not sure I’ve known myself as well. And business of predicting the future. Tea leaves and horoscopes, man. But with him I knew myself in it.

Maybe I’ll go home and find stuff in his house that will shake me. Maybe. Dunno. But I don’t think it will be about the last 12 years as much as it will be about the 35 ones preceding them. I’m not gonna speculate on it too much. I trust that I can manage. Plus, friends are a call a way, and in this instance, some are less than an hour’s drive away.


2 responses to “these days aren’t numbered”

  1. RU says:

    You rolled right, you knew yourself, trusted yourself, and made a choice that will make a difference to you for the rest of your life….

  2. liz says:

    That was the nicest thing anyone has said to me today. Thank you! Wow, I never thought about a difference for the rest of my life. That seems big.

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