Sunday, June 15, 2008

Honor The Father

What do you say to a father with whom you have no relationship? To a man who alternated between ignoring and making loving declarations over the course of your 47 years? To a man who you’d like to call dad, but can just manage…

It would be more dramatic to begin by saying that the storms that rolled through here about 7 this morning startled me from my slumber. To begin by saying that the thunder, lightning and the crash of tree parts and other debris into cars and onto the streets was a most un-settling way to begin the day would be, in truth, not the beginning of my day, though yes, it was un-settling.

My day began three hours earlier thanks to Pete, the cat! He started, per usual at about 4 with his meows, chin chucking and various other actions trying to rouse me. I did my best to ignore him and eventually he sauntered away, to sit and stare. By six, we decide it was time to eat. He feasts on a breakfast of turkey and giblets, I have cereal and a banana.

The storms roll in at 7 and Pete, the cat is a tad un-nerved. He was perched on the sill of one of the open windows. The crashes and lightning sent him skittering. He’s been pacing about, not quite sure of what to make of all the whirling and blowing. I close the windows against the growing breezes for fear that they might turn from refreshing to violent. Neither of us would welcome that eventuality.

I know you’re wondering, who the heck is Pete, the cat? Well, I adopted a cat at the urging of D, my daughter. You remember my daughter, don’t you? True, she was what…9 or 10 the last time you saw her? But I’ve spoken of her in the many letters I’ve sent in the interim. She’s nearly 23 now and working as a vet tech at one of the local animal shelters. The adoptions didn’t stop at Pete, the cat. Diamond, diva dog, also calls our condo home. Diamond and D will be moving as soon as my daughter can get all her ducks in a row. I’ll miss them both, but when it’s that time, well, it is.

There have been many other changes in my life, our lives since we last saw or even spoken to one other. M, my son graduated from college and has been pursuing a career in the theatre. He is working a “day” job that is very satisfying and will serve to provide him the security to continue to pursue his passions. He moved out a year ago and while I’ve stumbled on turning what was his space in the condo, into my space, the time has come for me to forge full speed ahead with that/those projects.

For the biggest change in the past few years is that I’ve fallen in love. The love is on her way, yes…her way here for the first time. I’ve visited her on a number of occasions because it was easier (since I have daughter here and such), but now…she wants to visit Chicago, me and see, rather than hear, how I live. When it’s that time, well, it is.

I don’t remember when you and I have last talked verbally or in print, but I do remember the contexts. I remember you’re stating, trying to assure me that you love me. I have to tell you, I find your declarations hard to believe given what we’ve shared, or rather haven’t, for the bulk of my 47 years. But, never fear I no longer dwell on whether or not you love me or vice versa. That part doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re my father and I would like to, at the very least know you and vice versa. So, on this day, the day set aside for children to honor their fathers, allow me to say, I hope that your life has been and continues to be all you hoped and dreamed. I hope your health and that of your wife allows for relaxing enjoyment during these golden years. Finally father, I hope you are happy.

I hope, you hope, the same for me.
Your only daughter, Deborah

I guess I would start there, maybe.


  1. *deep heavy sigh*


  2. ugh... "g" "q" whatever...

  3. VERY profound indeed. I know that of which you speak. I spoke to my "Biological" on Father's Day as well. It almost slipped my mind. We too have one of those fleeting relationships where I didn't meet him until I was 25 and have seen him only once since then. I try.Sometimes we try. It still hasn't gelled yet. I don't know that it ever will. But I called as it was a day for Fathers and he is mine whether we have a relationship or not. As I was reading your heartsounds, I thought to myself that one day, my own sons might be writing their dad much in this same way.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. OD, I don't know what to say, so I'll just give you a simple, gentle hug.

  5. The gift of years is wisdom. You're displaying a very strong dose of it right now.

    Well done!

  6. I got all tight in my throat. What a lovely, sad letter.

    What an amazing person you are to be so good hearted.

  7. Thank you for writing this. It was wonderful.

  8. What do you say to a father with whom you have no relationship?

    I've not ever figured out a good answer, other than to know there are great good men out there, and to cling to them. Oh, and to let go (gently) of the idea of a conventional father. In the breech, great things happen?

    None of which speaks to your gorgeous writing. Brava!

  9. Doris Lessing wrote in "My Father": "We use our parents like recurring dreams, to be entered into when needed; they are always there for love or for hate."

    I realize this more and more as I get older, and my father's death is more and more distant.

  10. Anonymous8:39 PM

    well, i have always had a very delicate and intense (aka violent) relation with my father, even though we've lived together over 20 years.
    in fact, i'd like to thank you because i've always wanted to write a letter to him explaining and saying so many things that i've hidden, kept closed, pretended to ignore throughout the years. your letter inspired me to do so. i'd deeply like to thank you, thousands away from where you are. good luck with the new love! cheers from brazil, m.

  11. Heavy duty, Deborah.
    Why is life so hard?!
    You have thrived in spite of your Father, or lack thereof.
    And you have shown you children how to thrive as well thru your example.
    Good job.
    Now, send that letter!


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