Monday, September 21, 2009

Part Nine: Memories of a Grateful Daughter: My Father on Women. My Father on Courage

My Father on Women

He is back at his desk. He spends more time leaning back and less time writing. He is too exhausted to do anything for long. My soon to be husband has written to ask for my hand. He must respond. The entire letter is very short. But it is beautiful. It includes:

Women, I have learned, march to a beat of a different drum. I have ceased to try to fully understand them. But I assure you, if you love her, she will return your love in ways that dwarf your own.

My Father on Courage

He is dying but we do not know it. His doctor is so optimistic and we have been here, in the hospital, before. There are whispers among the nurses and warnings to prepare given to us from friends. We reject them. I am, however, afraid he is giving up. If he gives up, he could die. It is time I intervene. I state my case that it is unacceptable to me that he lose his will to live:

“I know I have duty to you and your siblings and mom. I know that, and I am not giving up... But I am tired.”

I give a short dissertation on the merits of suffering. I recall stories of saints, examples of trials and the glory they bring, the cross, the virtues anything I can think of. I am not preaching. I think this, a reminder of the faith he loves, the saints he admires, will bring comfort.

He looks at me and I am given a gift. His eyes, his voice, and his words. He is showing me his vulnerability. My rock. My sounding board. My father trusts in my love enough to let me share in his fear:

“But those, those are saints,” he says, “ I am just an ordinary man. I am afraid to suffer.”

“You are not ordinary, Dad. Not to me.”

I hold his hand, and he looks at me with wonder. I know he is remembering the long years of tension. His mind’s eye sees the defiant, mean spirited teen. He recalls the sharp toughed, irrational ravings from the past.

“Where did you come from?” he asks.

I laugh through my tears, “From you Pop, you old dust mop, from you“…I am I because of you…

No comments:

Post a Comment