Yesterday morning began fine enough. Then slowly shifted to less than stellar, and I was confused, what was going on? I texted a friend, writing, “I know something’s off because I want a cheeseburger.” If you know me at all, you know cheeseburgers aren’t my thing. She wisely wrote back asking, “When you were a kid, when did you have cheeseburgers?”
The answer jumped at me in the form of memories of my dad taking me and my brothers to the golden you-know-whats. This was before small boxed meals harboring toys were popular. I remember ordering the fish burger a few times in the hopes of winning a living gold fish. I never did. Cheeseburgers were probably my main choice. Holy fast food, I was missing my dad.
Maybe this is all due to a cut and paste status update going around Facebook. It mentions loving someone who died of cancer and out of respect reposting the clip. When I see this, so many memories I don’t want come back. I don’t like to associate my dad with cancer, that was the worst, and most frightening time I’ve lived through.
I’ve been allowing these feelings to weigh me down since I was a kid. Now, however, I see that I’ve got to let go of the anger I hold about my father’s death and it’s connection to that illness. I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do. When I do manage it, like yesterday, I can see that I miss, not what I had, but what I don’t have. Yes I know he’s around, but I’m on earth and dammit sometimes I WANT a hug, I want my kids to know him. I WANT! I want. I want.
My struggle to look at it all differently took me awhile. I tried the old ‘ignoring it will make it go away.’ I realized I was thinking along the path of picking a fight with someone close to me. Seriously. ‘Cause then I wouldn’t have to look at myself. (In crazy town, that makes sense.) I criticized myself with thoughts of, how stupid are you, getting upset after all these years? Didn’t I say this wasn’t an easy thing? Then a friend surprised me with flowers, and they brought with them remembrance.
It was a memory from the funeral of a complete stranger. I was working in some small capacity when I saw a beautiful moment, the passed-on spirit of the man being honored, sending his wife flowers. These looked to be made of light. Each one was a memory of the love they shared, weaving together until there was a thick braid of luminous blossoms that stretched from her to where his body lay. What my mind questions and might grudgingly accept in part, due to the confirmations of others, my spirit recognizes as an example of the way to remember someone with love. Love and nothing else.
The best parts of my time with my dad involved adventures and laughter. They are like photographs I keep in my pocket, glancing at them now and then with a smile. A few I keep over my heart. May they be light.