Today is my Father’s Death Day

Today is the fourth anniversary of my Father’s death. I still miss him terribly. And yet, there has been a strange sort of healing that has happened, that wasn’t possible in life. Writing about it helps. So I wrote this:

Dad.

When the light went out of you, I thought I had lost you forever. All chance of salvaging our forsaken years blinked out in an instant, buried evermore in a tomb of missed communion.

A life expiring on a bed of regrets, moments of joy wished for but never brought to fruition. When your candle extinguished, so did all hope of shared secrets, belly laughs, spiced cider, and delicious smells coming from a warm kitchen. Apologies, rites of passage, tender knowing eye twinkles, all lost. The hope of what could be now firmly enshrined in what might have been, a museum piece resting on a scratchy pillow, encased in glass with the great oak doors closing on it forever. A living, beating heart now consigned to the dusty relics of antiquity, with nothing but regret lingering in the stale air.

My heart squeezed shut and oozed black, pooling over the bright places and blotting out all visions of renewal.

I walked away, empty.

But gradually your voice came to me. Free now, of the constraints of the flesh. Free of the miles between us, free of the jealousies of covetous new wives. Free of your duties, your vanity and wounded pride, that convinced you that holding a grudge was worth your life.

I began to speak to you. And now your voice held a shining spark, as if your breath had wings. As if a great chain had been unshackled. We spoke of love not shared, but nonetheless cherished. We spoke of pride in one another. We forgave. We released each other’s bonds. We saw that there was a way forward.

At first I told myself it was a trick of the mind. Some pale therapists’s exercise to balm over what can never be regained. Some sort of feigned, forced attempt at healing. Make-beleive to make one feel better.

And yet. Can I be so sure that your empty husk was the end of you? Has life not demonstrated itself to be grand so far beyond our imaginings that we can scare comprehend it, over and over again? I feel you all around me when we talk. Palpable. Can I be so sure that you are not also benefitting from this newfound communion?

Can there be a kind of freedom in death, and not merely the snuffing-out endgame that we have come to believe is the only truth there can be for sensible people?  When the measuring of brain chemistry is our only yardstick, what do we miss? We civilized people, we are so pleased with ourselves and our inventions, our science and dishwashers and self cleaning ovens. Truly, we have accomplished mighty things. We have conquered much disease. We have put a man on the moon. We have also nearly destroyed our world. Perhaps our civilized wisdom is not the only wisdom. Perhaps we have not figured everything out with our measuring devices and our microscopes.

For I feel you now, Dad. I feel you and there is a great relief about you. That we can talk again in private. That we can resume a friendship we both wish we’d never lost. And I am reminded of that other wisdom, stories told by people as old as time. Stories told in song and not in lab results. Stories of the Dreamtime, that great sea of consciousness that we all dip in and out of. And the part of us that is most alive, even after the mechanics of our bodies cease, drifts as a mist into this sea and mingles with all things.

In this place, I can touch you.

I weep.  Tears of sadness and joy. Tears of loss and renewal.

But mostly tears of wonder.