Monday, November 23, 2009

"My Father"

A new creature was born when my father died nearly seven years ago, a thing outside him and unlike him, rarefied and a little ceremonialized. My father.

Before his death, he was dad. My daddy. Papa-san, on affectionate occasion. I really don't recall referring to my living parent as "my father". Only dead is he so formalized, dehumanized.

The term is one of respect, of course. "My father" is the ancestor who singlehandedly gave me an instant, intimate understanding of ancestor-worship. He is the angel at G-d's side, the spirit, the entity the living man necessarily became when he could no longer share his presence with those of us still living.

But DAD was a living creature. A man, a breath, a flawed (... how ... !??) human, a wonderful person. A person.

It was not a person who died, but a relationship: the person is always, in mind, the very essence of breathing vitality. The venerated dead - that is My Father. I have hardly ever uttered the phrase "dad died" - except to perhaps the very dearest in my heart. My best friend, TEO - my brother. My mom. DAD is not fit to be put to death by my words. He's the humorous creature of my youth, he is the teacher, the fine man everyone loved. He's the silent-picture memory, the voice at the base of my hypothalamus, gruff and warm and safe. He is inviolable, unassailable.

He doesn't wear oxygen in my memory, he's only *alive*. Essential dad. Distilled daddy. Unalloyed, undimmed.

DAD is the memory, and the life. The thing he left us with which cannot be destroyed.

My Father ... is the rest.

That part of a person which never must be used until they can't hug you anymore. The relationship; which, after all, isn't everything. It's a category, a label for something.

It's DAD, we call the essence. The real thing, the experience of family, the joy of appreciation and gratitude. It's DAD who had to get glasses when his arms got too short to hold the book far enough away to see clearly. It's DAD who loved the granddaughter who spent months under the extended-family roof, pretending she was a doggie. It's DAD who hugged real hard after he had a heart attack; and real long after he was terminal. It's DAD who pranked little kids funny-sweetly, but with a little bit of edgy mischief.

Dad was mischief. He was heart, he was intellect, he was my archetype.

He IS still. Always.

My Father is a person who died; an avatar, a thing I can express love regarding - but not the direct line to my heart, to my LIFE, that DAD is and always was.

I miss my dad.

I am, in some ways, still coming to know ... My Father. That name for the divine - and there are reasons for such a usage. I understand this verbiage of faith in a way I didn't before.

My dad was a great guy. I'll have to post about him, and his love for my mom, some time when I have time. He was something.

I love him.

Happy Thanksgiving, daddy.

Thank you for: everything.


Mojourner said...

Thank you, seesta. I hadn't read this in a long time, and having read it this week is ending on a finer than imagined note.


DLM said...

I don't read this post myself, but do see it in the stats pretty regularly. For some reason, it's a bot magnet. Dad deserves better than that - glad you gave it a stat. :)

Kate Warren said...

That was lovely, Diane. Beautifully expressed.

DLM said...

Thank you very much.

It's a challenge describing someone like dad; if anything I can say about him sounds good, it's only because of its inspiration.