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I hold in my memory and in my heart many things.
One year ago in the early morning hours I received the kind of phone call no one wants to hear especially when you are sound asleep.
I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone line as I stirred myself to wake up.
My dad had passed away sitting in the quiet of the foster care home.
I remember how I curled in a ball in the bed as my husband held me.
I had just seen him a few days earlier in the hospital not feeling or breathing well with iv’s and oxygen closely monitored.
When I left I didn’t say good bye to him as he was resting and didn’t want to disturb him.
Maybe I should have.
My counselor always said to me, should cannot be in a recovery ‘dialogue’ or thought process.
Should brings forward obligation, guilt, remorse, regret and shame.
“I should have said good bye and now the opportunity is over.
I will never be able to do that.”
What does that sound like?
Shame or regret or sorrow or… you fill in the blank.
I didn’t say good bye because he knew I was there and he knew I cared and he was uncomfortable and needed his rest.
Ever have the feeling when leaving someone that it might be the last time you see them?
Yeah me too.
If given the chance what would I say to him now?
I would sit next to his chair and hold his fragile hand in mine and then say:
“I know our relationship was not close.
I also know in my heart you understood me on some level.
We missed many years together and many important events that could have been shared and that was a great loss for both of us.
You were not there.
You didn’t see me graduate from high school or walk me down the aisle at my wedding.
You were not there when your grand children were born.
You weren’t there when I was sick for many, many years and needed a dad to talk to, to be encouraged by and to just have in my life.
I am not saying this to shame you or hurt your heart.
I am just saying on many levels I didn’t know or experience my fathers love.
I think at one point in time you told me you loved me but I remained cautious and didn’t let it in too close.
Now it is clear to me your past and the lack of knowing how to be in a relationship was deeply embedded in you.
It was not your fault. It was what you learned.
You can’t give what you don’t know.
I am sorry for both of us and I forgive you.”
Then I would hug him and let him go home for he would be very tired.
I live with the knowing that I didn’t say goodbye.
I hold in my heart the older years of his life.
We missed many years together but I hold onto the gift of some
and they will always be treasures to me.