The Letting Go


The other day I wrote of Father’s day.  I mentioned that it will be 5 years since my fathers death. It is 5 years today. This has shocked me. It feels like yesterday. It feels like a thousand yesterdays.

We all handle loss differently. But if we do not process loss organically, If we do not move through it, then the grief can become stuck. For the most part I haven’t written in these 5 years, and when I have it has been about him in one way or another. Trying to find a way to tell him I loved him in a way I never could when he was alive.

Like so many of our time, we did not communicate well. He was a loner who taught his son to be a loner, and because of this we never really learned how to be together. Or with anyone else.

He spent the last week and a half of his life in the hospital on a ventilator. He would become conscious on occasion and try and talk to me. It seemed urgent. He would become very agitated, to the point of undoing all the wires he was attached to in an effort to speak. Eventually I would come to leave the room when I saw him begin to stir to avoid this. So whenever he would awaken he never knew I was there. The guilt of this weighed heavily on me. In the end, it was another conversation we would never have. I would never know what it was he was trying to tell me. It was a symbolic ending.

But there comes a time when you must kick your own self in the ass and say enough!  To hope that perhaps you did a better job as a son than you thought. That either way it is time to start living again. To find my own breath again. To find my voice. To write.

This is not to say the subject will not be revisited and told one day. In fiction. In memoir. But sometimes it’s better to come back to something. To walk away and bring the fuel back, rather than push the car to the gas station. Stories that need telling get told. But they have their own way of letting you know when they are ready.

In the meantime, regrets serve little purpose other than hopefully avoiding them in the future. The best way to avoid regret is to do. Tell those who you love, that you love them. Take that trip, get that degree, climb that mountain. And write. If you are a writer. Write. It’s time for new stories.

And it is time to write them.

Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 12:27 AM  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen! To get unstuck and take the first step forward, no matter how tentative, is so empowering. I loved this line: “To walk away and bring the fuel back, rather than push the car to the gas station.”

  2. Had you been able to say the words, they would have been inadequate before they dissolved into the air. Your father knew your heart. It reminds me of ee cummings “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)” Live that life. Go forth and honor that legacy.

  3. I have to say it is sOo inspiring. I love this line “the best way to avoid regret is to do”. Indeed that is true because if we wait too long to seize the day the one we love will go away. Thank you for sharing this,you made one woman warmed by these insights despite the wintry season all the way from New Zealand.

    • Thank you Diane for such a heartfelt comment. It has made me smile and touched me deeply to have this story reach so far.
      Being in a Texas summer I envy your New Zealand winter. But I suppose the grass is always greener. 🙂 Beautiful country you have there.
      Thanks again for the comment!

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