September

September, a harsh month.  Too many memories culminate and converge in this month, a month that once had me looking forward to the return of fall.  With September comes the flood of memories of life that once was.  September 7th the birthday of my father, he would have been 88 yesterday and even though he has been gone for 19 months I still cannot talk about him with ease.  He was a hard man to love, and still I adored him and idolized him as a child.  I find myself pushing the memories down whenever I start to think of him, I can’t do it yet, I cannot dwell on him.  I cannot let myself relive and hash over what once was, it is too painful for me.  I am sad that he is no longer here, gone from my life and his grand children’s lives but even sadder in the knowledge that he destroyed his relationship with his family, and there in lies the crux of my pain.  The pain I consciously chose to keep buried within, it is over, he is gone and I can no longer go there.  I miss you Dad and I am sorry for the missed opportunities that you choose to destroy.  It pains me to hear Aidan say he misses his papa, it fills me with an anger that I cannot nurture and so I chose most days to put your memories aside.  I could not write about you yesterday on your birthday, I could not give you that.  The person I once considered my greatest influence is the person I now walk away from, I chose to move forward without your voice in my head, to not hear your words reverberating throughout my memories.  I cannot escape your face or those steely eyes of yours, they are there every time I look in a mirror, my face is your face and I do have to see you and think of you whenever I see my face reflected, you are there within me.  I am moving toward forgiveness father because to not do so would destroy me and I have more reason to live and love and to go on than I do to stay in the past and condemn you.  The hard part is working through my conflicted feelings for you but I fear I will never be free of those, I must live with these every single day, but again a choice, move forward or remain stuck in the past; I move forward.  I miss you, I miss the person you once were but I move forward regardless.

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And then there is today September 8th, the five-year anniversary of my angel passing from this earthly realm into I hope a better existence.  The memories of this day and the 7th from five years ago are still fresh within me.  I see them every year on the 8th like a movie playing across the screen of my mind.  I remember sitting at Hospice of Northwest Ohio with Daddy, Amanda, Joe, Wade and Aidan.  I remember the silence, I remember the anguish, I remember the waiting.  I remember being exhausted but never so awake, every palatable sense in overdrive.  I remember Wade leaving with Aidan. I remember Amanda and Joe leaving, newly married and still riding on a cloud.  The staff at hospice told us all through that day that her time here with us was waning but she continued to cling to the earthly realm.  I remember taking Daddy home and I remember coming back to be with Mother alone.  I went back on my own to spend what time I could with her, emerged in the only bond that still remained.  The blood and breath that once was shared by mother and daughter hung heavily in the room that night.  I played some of her favorite music for her, I talked to her about things that she had told me of her life, about Marvel, her parents, her sisters and brothers.  I talked about the gospel songs she used to sing to me as a child, my lullabies.  And then I talked to her about when she used to read to me as a child.  Her education was limited but she did read to me from the Bible and from my beloved Little Golden Books.  She read to me until I started reading on my own.  I wish she had continued on reading to me but I think she was embarrassed by her limited knowledge and skills.  What I didn’t know was how to tell her or think to tell her as a child is that it didn’t matter.  What mattered was the memories she made that I cherished.  What once had been among our earliest bonding experiences was to become our last bonding experience.  I knew Mother was staying for me, she refused to relinquish her hold on this existence while I remained.  The last thing I ever did for Mother was to read a story to her, a story that has always been close to my heart and one that has and forever will remind me of her.  I read “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton. I read it as best I could through my tears.  I kissed her and told her I loved her and to go, to leave, to go home, that she was free to soar now.  I told her I knew she was staying for me (ever my protector) and that I had to let her go, that I was going to be okay.  I left knowing I would not see my mother alive in this world again.  My greatest gift to my mother was to let her go, to let her be free to pass over into (I hope) the afterlife she always talked about.  I believe her parents were waiting for her.  I believe her brothers and sisters that passed before her were waiting for her.  I believe her beloved niece Jean was waiting for her.  I believe there were happy tears of joy in heaven upon her arrival.  Less than three hours later I received a phone call from hospice telling me that if we wanted to see her before she passed we should come now.  I had to pick up Daddy first, I suspected she would not wait for us, she couldn’t and she did not.  I knew on the way back to hospice that she was gone, she told me with a sign that only I would recognize.  I came to discover upon her death that she was a most powerful force of nature, one that I only came to recognize upon her passing, a gift that was revealed to me the night of her death.  My mother spoke to me in a language more powerful than any word can convey, a language that is felt only by the heart, a language without words.  Her love was felt in the early morning of September 8th, my mother spoke to my heart as I caught sight of a great horned owl take flight.  She was gone and her soul was finally soaring.

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