I hold the space of compassion within myself… She said.
A space that has held longing and regret. I had seen this space in my fathers own eyes before the light dimmed into his despair. His demise. His disease.
Could I hold this space of compassion as I grieved internally for him? A life he never fully realized as a triumph. For a life that we had shared for fifty one years.
He would not look me in the eyes the last time I saw him. This past Christmas Eve. Eyes that would tell a story he hadn’t wanted to end. A life he had feared. Denied. Raged. Shared. Loved. Regretted.
He passed five days later.
He rested on the Sabbath.
He gifted me life and encouragement.
So when I stood or sat at his side. Or listened as best I could until all he could do was text as he could no longer speak. I spoke the words he could not say. The words he longed to convey.
I forgive you papa for not being the dad. The father that I thought and knew I deserved. I know now as I have for the past umpteen years that you were being the best papa you knew to be.
I saw into the eyes of his sadness. Eyes that held such sorrow and regret. For the man I once feared. For the man he had tried to become. For the man that he dreamed of being.
I felt compassion for the little girl. For the young scared child. For the woman I had become. For the giant of man that he once was. For the man he was now. For the frail bones and sagging skin lying before me.
I wept with him.
I forgive you papa.
I bless you. And now I must let you be.
This past autumn I surrounded his hospital bed with a force of my own deliverance. I surrendered to letting my farewell be what he could not say. And could not yet see.
He feared dying. He felt he deserved this reality.
He did not believe he was worthy of forgiveness.
He did not know his own love for himself.
I wept for that man. Vowing to be done. To put the final nail in the coffin. Yet here I AM now. Nearing 3 am. Writing. Healing. Breaking further into my inner silence.
There was a time in my twenties that I felt that he was unforgivable. Anger. Resentment. Disappointment. Detached. Yet connected. By a love a daughter has for their father.
Thinking that forgiveness meant he had won. So I held unto this pain. For what I could not yet see. For what I was afraid to feel. For what I was unable then to be willing to do. To go into myself.
Until I knew.
For a decade I stood with every emotion I could muster. Pain hanging in the silence. It wasn’t easy to show up. I shouted. I cried. I begged him to surrender. I prayed for him to die. To end this suffering.
When you see a man. Your own father. Once handsome face be eaten slowly by cancer. Twenty years seems like an eternity. The last decade high hell. An era I call my raging forties.
His face distorted. Disfigured. Masked fear.
His story will be told. Our story will be heard.
As I listen to the voice of my once held silence.
A story that has been written in the depths of my heart. Pages. Long hours of weeping. “Tears for fears.” Undeniable grief. Gutted. The waiting wounded. A slain soul.
My papa my greatest life challenge and encourager. Died 29 December 2018. Seven days after I declared ‘Freedom’ as my focus. My resolve for this year. Five days after I bade him farewell.
I smile as I hear his voice. “How’s my big girl?”
I feel compassion as I see love in the depths of his soul. I told him that I would never come back and do this dance ever again with him and I meant it.
The song that plays now is a slow one. I move more gently through this grief. No longer feeling hollowed out by it. But freed because I have allowed myself the space to be with Her. To empty out. To love.
I edge closer to Her. She holds this space and I feel such freedom as tears brim these eyes. Eyes that have seen more death within Her life time than most would know.
I feel such compassion for you… She said.
Bless you father, My dear “papa”.
High Five to Your Triumph!
excerpt from When Tears Fall
Te’ sky gazing; Packwood, WA