Realizations


Then there was that time in the car on the way to the place when I had an epiphany.

It came without bidding.

Most epiphanies do.

And it had to do with my father and the lack thereof of said father most of my life.

It followed closely on the heels of a conversation I had with my favorite uncle, my father’s eldest brother, and I realized when I said goodbye to him and I love you, that I did have a father figure, it is my uncle.

It was such a simple little revelation.

And like all such revelations, obvious when I saw it, that it had been there all along.

He had insisted the first year I moved out to California that I come up to his place in Nevada City, actually out past Nevada City, up further in the hills, for Christmas.

I had not seen this side of the family in a long time and I was nervous.

I was also going to be seeing my grandmother whom I had not seen since I was a small girl, four, four and a half, and she did not know that I was coming, it was a surprise.

I remember that my cousins looked so much more like me than my mother’s side of the family and that my uncle, who, although I was shy around and as one of my girl cousins noted, I did the same thing they did–hide in my hair–I felt uncustomary closeness too.

I couldn’t remember much of my uncle from being a little girl and I am not sure how much he was around at the time I was living in California, but he stepped in then.

And he has stepped in now.

I called him to get an update on my father–my two uncles and my grandmother flew up yesterday on Christmas to be with my dad.

My uncle gave it to me straight and thank god for that.

He also said all the things that I would have wanted to hear from my father at any time during my life, I love you, I’ll stay in touch with you, I will call you soon, I will keep you in the loop.

When I got off the phone I felt flooded with gratitude.

I had a dad.

And though my uncle is not really my dad, he’s my uncle, he’s a father figure and it was to a father that I felt I was speaking.

My uncle has daughters and as such is probably not looking for another, but the connection there and elsewhere–this is my uncle who goes to Burning Man–is strong, familial, blood, and I felt connected to him and the situation became just that more bearable to handle.

I won’t have a lot of say in the medical side, although I could choose to if push came to shove.

I don’t need to have that say.

Although my uncle made it quite clear that I am considered the primary next of kin being the eldest daughter and child of my fathers.

I am in control of his estate.

What feeble estate that accounts for since my father has been in a homeless shelter in Anchorage for some time is beyond me, but yes, I do have control of those monies.

I have no need for it and I would dispose of that responsibility and cede it to any of my father’s side of the family that should want it.

However.

If I need to I will take on the responsibility.

I am an adult.

I don’t know that I will pursue a great deal of a relationship with my father, I don’t know how much of a relationship there is going to be as the amount of brain damage is still be assessed.

He will be there in the facility for at least another two months.

He still has brain swelling and the two skull pieces that were removed have to be replaced and often times my father has to be restrained to not mess with his head.

I feel you dad.

It itches.

I was never good with the itchy stuff either.

But let it heal, ok?

Maybe because I do want to have some sort of relationship, if only to tell you I love you once in a while.

Everybody wants to hear that.

I believe, anyway.

And until that time I can always tell my uncle and my grandmother, my sister, my mother, my aunts and cousins, I can tell them I love them.

Life is precious and the more I live it the more precious it becomes.

Tomorrow I am going to take a trip down the coast to Natural Bridges State Park with my guy and we are going to see the monarch migration.

I am super excited to witness it.

I suspect it is something I need to see.

I feel the pull for these adventures and these experiences more now than ever as I see the kind of life my father has chosen for himself and the life that I have chosen for myself.

I can hope for a kind intersection of love and perhaps at a crossroads again I can take my father’s hand and we can walk along the road for a little while.

Or not.

But I choose to walk this path and live honorable and lovingly and with great kindness and compassion for myself and my father.

He did the best he could.

I know that.

I don’t approve, necessarily of what that looked like when I was a child, but I accept it and I know, really know, he did the best he could.

Just like my mom did.

No one’s parents are perfect and no one’s child is perfect either.

Yet we are all perfect.

Human.

Lovable and worthy of love.

And I hope that you don’t fall in love with me.

Too late.

It’s irrevocable.

I love my father.

I love, but from a far.

I love, but I can see the mountains around him and the snow squeaking under the tires of trucks whistling in and out of the hospital parking lot, I can still feel his hand and the warmth of his cheek when I kissed him goodbye.

It was a kiss hello too.

And maybe there will be more of that.

In the meantime, I’ll stay connected to my uncle and be grateful, so unaccountably grateful for my family, close, far, blood calls to blood and I am connected to so many wonderful amazing people.

I am not alone.

I never was.

No matter what I told myself.

And neither is my father.

No matter what he told himself either.

Love never dies.

Never fades.

Love always is.

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