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The long term missing of absent fathers

It's been a long time since my father died. Going on sixteen years this October. More than half my adult life.

And although there are ways that it has never stopped being hard, I have achieved as much as I can of healing. Nowadays I can see my father in perspective. The split between my Idolised Father and my Father Who Drank and was Erratic and Raging have healed, and now he is just Father Who Was Human and Tried Hard but Really Wasn't Very Good at Fatherhood.

My mother used to tell me about my dad and how when I was born he just couldn't get enough of me, and being with me. How in his lunch hour he'd take a cab from his office to go home just to change me and feed me and burp me, play with me for five minutes and then he'd jump back in a cab and go back to work. I wish I could remember those bits as clearly as I remember his long absences, or his rages. But one of my earliest memories is very fuzzy, mostly made of feelings and blurrs. I am lying on my back nad I must be very very young, probably just a few months, because I can't see very well - faces are blurred- and waving my arms and legs and looking at my fingers preoccupies me for long periods of time. And then, there is a change in the room, because my father has come in and I'm wiggling my hands, I'm beaming I'm sailing on waves of joy so pure, so vast, that I can't hold them. Because my Dad is here, and I love him, and I'm so happy to see him. And then he's walking across the room to me, and I'm all knotted up iwth the happiness and the anticipation and I'm extending my arms to him to be picked up, and when he does it's the best thing in the world.
I remember that, moments like that, and know that things must have been perfect between us for a time.

And even with my Dad's drinking and broken promises, the one aspect that never changed was that I still loved him very much.

It took me a long long time, more than ten years, to make peace with the fact of my father's dying. In the end, I think largely I did because I began to have a spiritual life which allowed him to be alive within it. That he could in a way, still be with me and know my life on earth. True, there was still the veil between us, but in moments it seemed so thin that we could stand in it side by side and almost touch.

Nowadays, I don't have the same terrible longings and I'm grateful for that. But by moments, I still miss him terribly. I miss the physical dimension of his existence so badly that it hurts.

And in those moments, I think I would give away years of my own life, just to have him back for ten minutes. Just to be able to hold him again, and be held. To feel my body crushed in my father's powerful arms, to be hugged tightly, tightly, to hug him. To see the colour of his eyes again - the real colour not just my photograph memory of it- to hear the sound of my father's laugh, and voice, and song. To smell the aftershave that he wore.

To be able to say goodbye properly.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
What a beautiful tribute.

Is that you in the picture? How cute! And how tenderly he's holding you.
May. 25th, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)
that's indeed me in the picture, I think the first picture of me in existence.

May. 25th, 2005 08:42 am (UTC)
It's good to be able to write about something like this, face it. It's something unchangeable, and so much bigger than my minor ups & downs, say. There's so much that is, near and far. It's good to put things in perspective. You'll get a hug in person when I see you soon...
May. 25th, 2005 10:19 am (UTC)
It's something unchangeable, and so much bigger than my minor ups & downs, say.

Ups and Downs are relative, and please do not devalue your own. Although in your case nobody died physically, the idea and potential of them did.

But yes, sometimes a different perspective is good and I'm looking forward to the hug. :D

p.s. tori's concert is on the 3rd of June so I can see you on the 18th:)
May. 25th, 2005 08:52 am (UTC)
You rule, you totally rule x x x
May. 25th, 2005 10:33 am (UTC)
thank you for reading and commenting, it means a lot.

you rule too, and I'll try and make it to the tube walk on sat :)
May. 25th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC)
ah, you write so beautifully i can feel your sadness from here.

i have your tori ticket.....
May. 25th, 2005 09:49 am (UTC)
thank you :)

Which june is it and how much do I owe you?
May. 25th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
it is friday june 3rd....i think tickets were a rather ouch-making £30..but i'll check for sure when i get home. do you want me to post yours to you?
May. 25th, 2005 10:34 am (UTC)
i'll give you a ring later today if it's ok :)
May. 25th, 2005 10:37 am (UTC)
May. 25th, 2005 09:30 am (UTC)
i love that photo of him
i always think i should give my dad a hug after i read a post from you about yours ...and then i talk to him
May. 25th, 2005 10:38 am (UTC)
Re: i love that photo of him
...and then i talk to him

but your parents are disenchanting.

*hugs you*
May. 25th, 2005 11:08 am (UTC)
It's nice that you understand how you feel about your Dad. My Dad is still alive but I don't know how I feel about him really.
May. 25th, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)
It's nice that you understand how you feel about your Dad.

It's one of the perks of my overlysensitive and obsessively analytic nature.

I think it is easier to decide feelings about people post-humously when they don't talk back. ;)
May. 25th, 2005 11:24 am (UTC)
This touches me too, for obvious reasons, all about hoping the best for the relationship between The Boy and Item. And myself, of course. It's the simple relationships that are the most important, and the hardest, eh?

Thanks for the post and the great picture.
May. 25th, 2005 12:50 pm (UTC)
It's the simple relationships that are the most important, and the hardest, eh?

Yes, and family relationships are so complicated. I think that is why I have so many conflicting feelings around parenthood and know how badly it can go wrong. But at the same time I also think children are fairly sturdy and parental willingness to listen and accept that they are fallible helps a lot.

Thanks for the post and the great picture.

Thank you for reading and responding :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 25th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
thank you
hello you :)

I love you.

How are you doing?
May. 25th, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC)
How very inspiring.
I try to be that kind of dad.
May. 25th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC)
Re: How very inspiring.
heh. hopefully not the erratic heavy drinking kind... ;)
May. 25th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
It is good that it makes sense to you. My mother makes sense, but my father doesn't, really.

Much love x
May. 25th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
i love you too!

May. 25th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
I understand, love. I'd give everything I have for just one more minute- and the time to say goodbye.
May. 25th, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
*echoes gentle thoughts and sympathies back at you*
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


deep sky, firefly

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