I’ve intentionally avoided the inevitable for the better part of this day but I can’t hide from it any longer. Everywhere I turn over the past few weeks there has been one reminder after another of my father. He has placed one stumbling block in front of another beckoning me to acknowledge his presence; memories, mementos, things he left behind and quickly forgot about. Dreams and visitations, all to remind me that you’re still here, even in death, and that your penance has not been freely given.
I’m still hurting from the choices you made in the last year’s of your life, only my death or a failing memory will take that from me. I’m moving forward Dad but I still wait for the next blow to happen. You left me shell shocked, suffering and blindsided by the decisions you made. In one fell swoop you went from being the person I admired most to the village fool. It is behind me now but I am left with your legacy of betrayal and utter bewilderment. I was taught to respect my elders, to not talk back and if they tell the same story over and over again, let it be, let them tell it. In other words, you never challenge what is put before you by your elders. You did your job superbly Dad, because nothing I said or did was heard by you, my tears were unseen and my despair unnoticed. Only at the very end, when you found yourself given up on by the woman you forsought your family for did you give any inkling of understanding of the harm you had caused. Only with death lingering in your perphereial vision and seeking you for its prize did you even offer an acknowledgment of the sorrow you had brought down upon your little family.
But I’m here tonight Dad, sitting in the cemetery with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in honor of you, wishing that we might find some peace and understanding between the barrier that separates us. My heart hurts today, it has hurt for a very long time. I want you to move on, I want you to find Mother and make your peace with her. You owe her a debt that you can never repay but I hope that in your ethereal existence you have learned the one lesson you drilled into me from day one; say you’re sorry. Apologize to the woman who loved you more than you ever deserved, embrace her and know that you had one true love. Admit to her how much you hurt her, admit the truth that it was her that kept our family together and that without her you were a sorrowful and selfish man.
I love you still, even through the pain and heartache. I’ll only ever have one father and I wish you peace on this journey that only you can make and you must make it.
On your 91st birthday I wish you peace and I offer you my forgiveness, go now Father and tarry here no more.