my dad and i are sitting at the kitchen table, I'm eating and complaining about my lengthy doctors appt today, which is why I was unable to pick him up from work as arranged since my appt took two hours longer than anticipated.
he is listening, grunting approvals of my justified frustration while he absent-mindedly check pages in his planner.
i finish eating.
he starts to share details about his trip to see gramma this weekend.
he talks about the parkinsons medication effect, the catheter. her apnea moments when she stops breathing for minutes at a time and he leans in to her and says, "Mom, are you gone?" he does not talk about the cancer.
then he pauses for a long while and says, "At one point Darc, she says to me
'Jim is here with me, Jay. Jim is here!'
(Jim: my grampa, my dad's father, grams husband)
silence. Dad starts to choke up.
i put down my dishes and give him my full, silent attention. i move a little closer to him, but then look away to the corner of the room when i realize he does not want to cry. probably because he doesn't want me to see him cry.
He goes on after half a minute of strange, gasped breaths, and says, "So i tell her, Go with him Ma."
Another long pause and the curdled inhalations.
My heart is weeping for this man, my father, the hero of my childhood, the first man i loved in this life. An alcoholic by generation and genetics, a know-it-all, oblivious to self reflection and what I'll broadly call Awareness, and absolutely the greatest dad on the planet.
i slide across the kitchen floor from the sink to his chair, moved by innate nurturing, and with one hand i pet his back. as i do this, i am building up a shield of white, sparkling strength around me, around us, so i can be strong for the both of us. strong enough to not also break down in to tears of loss. tears honoring the very special connection between parent and child.
his upper back muscles are so, so tight, his body so stiff, it's like trying to comfort a bag of concrete mix. or a punching bag.
after what feels like much too brief a moment given the circumstances, he sniffs his liquids back in, straightens up and says, Well that's enough of that.
i tenderly say to him, it's okay to feel Daddy. i wonder if he cries in my mother's presence.
he quickly snaps, I know.
gets up and goes out of the room, away from me and my comforting.
do we even feel anymore?
do we know how to truly feel our emotions? after so many years of pushing them aside. drowned and decaying in the dark bottom of our soul, waiting for a glimmer of light to release them, to be free once again.
have we forgotten what it means to receive?
love, comfort, and human touch.
lost to those who choose the blindness.