Friday, October 21, 2011

Memories of my father (Originally published 9/10/11)

It's been more than two years since my father died, at age 59. I was the one holding his hand as he took his final breath. I didn't cry instantaneously. I stood there, very still, with one hand on his chest, now still as still could be, the other hand on my own. I remember feeling a sensation of peace, then it was just a bit eerie, then I turned around and marched out of the room to find a hospice nurse. My concern shifted toward my mother, asleep on a nearby sofa. I woke her and broke the news and then the tears came. We held each other, we stood with him, we prayed. I cried a lot over the loss of my father that morning, but not very often since.

I began to believe I wasn't sentimental. I began to believe not shedding tears for the man who helped bring me into this life meant I didn't have overt tenderness in my heart for him. We'd had a pretty tumultuous relationship for many of our years together, and though we really came a long way in the end, and he passed with our bond as solid as ever, I came to believe that my father's absence from my adult life was something that I could deal with just fine, thank you. I may have forgiven but I hadn't truly forgotten the rifts and the pain that had existed between us for so long. So imagine my surprise when I recently began to see that what I had forgotten was just how much I really, really loved this imperfectly perfect man, and just how sentimental I can be when it comes to him.

My father showed up in a dream. It wasn't my dream, rather, the dream belonged to C., my relatively new love and someone who only knows my father through my words and the odd photo. I didn't ask what the dream was about. It didn't seem necessary. As a firm believer in most things spiritual and intuitive, I just took this information in and trusted that the deeper meaning or purpose would reveal itself in due time. Shortly thereafter I sat down to channel with a dear friend of mine who has a gift for being a conduit for soul messages. My focus was all about C. We've been together for several months now, but I hadn't channeled him and I was chomping at the bit to hear from his soul, and to ask about our soul connection. (If this seems really far out there and hard to grasp for some of you, I can understand. I invite you to channel for yourselves and see if that doesn't change your perspective.) As I sat there alternately nodding in agreement and beaming from sheer delight to receive messages about the incredible power and depth of the bond I share with the man now occupying center stage in my life, it occurred to me to inquire just what the man who had been center stage for a large portion of my life was doing showing up in C's dream.

In came my father's soul, elated to speak to me this way. I hadn't channeled him in many, many months. And spiritual though I may be in my own ways, I scarcely recall my dreams and have no identifiable ability for channeling soul messages myself. Combine that with the fact that, as I mentioned, I'd declared myself largely without sentiment on the subject of my deceased father, and one could understand, if you believe in such things, that he'd be extremely happy to have this chance to connect with me. He came to C. both as a means of reaching me, but also to check C. out for himself and to have the experience of "visiting" someone who would be consciously receptive. Crazy stuff, huh?!?! But it didn't phase me. It made sense. And it warmed my heart to hear my father's soul's obvious enthusiasm over the experience. It was a transformational one for him, and he could readily understand why I am so drawn to C. He was happy for me, happy for us.

In the weeks since then memories of my father have begun to surface at the most unexpected moments in the most unexpected ways. On a leisurely drive with C. I recalled motorcycle rides by the beach, scuba diving outings and other adventures my father and I shared back in the day. Some silent tears fell as I felt my heart soften toward my dad. While clearing out my closet and drawers for a clothing swap with friends today, I accidently sent crashing to the ground one of the oldest possessions I have, a gift from my father. It was a hand painted eggshell, insides removed as if by magic, fragile and beautiful, sitting in its glass enclosure. I must have been five or six-years old when he gave it to me, and somehow, and for reasons I never fully understood, I kept it for all these years. When it shattered, I felt shattered. I froze as if suspended in air for a moment, then fell to my knees as hysterical sobs gripped me. What was this sentiment? Where was this emotion coming from? I missed my dad. For all that he wasn't, for all that I didn't like or understand about him, he was mine, he always tried to be there for me and he loved me with everything he had.

I could say that he is gone now, but that is only a partial truth. Physically, yes. On a soul level and in my heart, no. He is with me. And as C. reminded me when we spoke, post-egg shattering, smack in the middle of my flood of tears, I haven't lost anything. The egg is just a thing. The egg is not my father. The egg is not my memories. So while it is understandably sad that this beautiful object my father gave me now sits in pieces, my feelings toward him and my ability to sense him seem to have been strengthened as a result. He just gave me a wonderful lesson in detachment, a wonderful lesson in love.

Wherever you are, dad, I know you are with me. Thank you. All my love for all eternity.

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