My father has been dead for nearly twenty years. Twenty years!!!! What an impossible amount of time that is. It is longer than I lived at home with him. I left for college at 18 and returned only for a few months in the summer and the couple of months between graduate school and getting married. Twenty years is a long time. But there are days and moments when it feels like yesterday…… the pain of missing him never really goes away. He is frozen in my memory in good times not sick-those last few weeks were a blur and while I am forever grateful for those weeks I don’t dwell on that time.
Instead it the memories of seeing his muppet face light up when he saw ‘his girls’ or the serious talk he had with us about not being as strong as he purported…….and the three of us gently laughing……we had known he was a softie all along. Or the look on his face when he opened the gift that held a brass key ring “Grandpa’s Keys” and it dawned on him what that meant. The grin and twinkle in his eye when he was up to mischievous deeds. The raised cup of wine lifted to honor my mother, ‘his lady’ at the dinner table. The generous, quiet man that did so many little things. The dignity he gave a neighbor man who had no car always calling him Mr. MacKenzie as he drove up the steep hill and talked about the news or sports. The way he hugged me and made the world go away and made me feel so safe. There is nothing in the world like a good daddy hug.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Daddy…….
On Father’s Day I also miss the father of my two children. My heart shreds with the pain of how dysfunctional he has become. He as a good father for 22 years…….and then, and then the divorce and he lost sight of what was important. Our children. He has let his anger and hurt turn into vindictiveness and hostility and poison. He has placed his needs above his children and they are suffering because of it. Our son is crippled by it and our daughter is burdened by it. And there is no peace.
Last night was a huge thrill for me and another moment of clarity. I have wanted to meet Richard Thompson, guitar legend, singer/songwriter for quite some time. I was first introduced to his music by a friend in the UK-so long ago that I received a mix tape with several of RT’s songs as well as some Clash and other bands. I became intrigued, joined a list-serv and began attending concerts. I have dragged nearly everyone I know with me; my Hex, my daughter, my son in law even my mom! And in recent years various friends and have also sold a ticket or two when I couldn’t find anyone to accompany me. When I saw that he was playing at the Birchmere in Alexandria last night and again tonight I decided I would go as an end of school year treat for myself. The moment of clarity came when I realized I should just buy one ticket and save myself the hassle of finding someone to drag along. And while having that moment of clarity I saw that a VIP Meet and Greet Package was available……..and in a few clicks I had my end of year treat in my shopping cart.
The traffic to the venue was horrific and my nerves were shot by the time I arrived. I’ve been to the Birchmere just enough times to know the routine and not let it rattle me completely. The concert was amazing…..new stuff, the familiar songs and some of the fabulous older material that got roars from the crowd in recognition. Blazing hot guitar solos, drum solos and bass let everyone know the Electric Trio was in the house.
Afterwards with my VIP badge pinned to my shirt I was led to a small room and in came OH (our hero) still sweaty from the stage but sporting a ball cap instead of his signature beret. Asking how to spell my name and making chit-chat with the other VIPs……….and then suddenly it was RT and me exchanging pleasantries and my asking him about his vocal health routine and stuttering and his question about my work with young children with communication disorders and multiple severe handicaps. When I realized I was the only one left I gathered my swag and we left the little room and I glided back to my car several feet off the ground. My summer is off to an amazing start……….
Over the last few years I have wrestled with the concept of being deserving and worthy of having good things in my life. Questioning whether I would ever have someone love me and me to love someone hinged a lot of the notion that I was a horrible, unloveable person. Time and therapy have helped me realize that many of those ‘tapes’ were planted by my insecure, needy, abandonment-fearing Hex who thoroughly convinced me that I was totally unloveable and he, and only he, could rescue me and somehow find in himself to love me.
That I was essentially unloveable was also intricately interwoven with negative body issues so that I ended up overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. I was to be eternally grateful that my amazing Hex (heavy sarcasm) could see through all those hideous faults and love (aka rescue) me. and that I should be so damn grateful because if not him then no one. Cat lady eating dinner alone in a restaurant with a book. He needed me to stay overweight, unhealthy and unhappy because with those heavy blinders on I couldn’t see the outside world or his faults. I was to simply strap on the feed bag, keep my head down and keep eating my feelings. And I believed it. When I finally came to the realization that being fat was protection I still couldn’t just end my 50 year love affair with food and eating versus feeling. But suddenly I knew better why. This adipose shell blocked me from acknowledging my sexuality, my craving for adoration from men, my polyamorous inclinations. Afterall what could be more invisible that a fat, white, middle-aged woman????? And I always had my express exit card-ah I’m not liked because I’m fat. It is has nothing to do with me or my personality or my crazy beliefs-I am rejected for my appearance. BAM! easy, plain and simple you reject me-you are shallow and lookist and all that.
But one day a crack of sunshine broke through and warmed my face, and then another and another and I began to question the religion I had held to be true……….perhaps I was loveable. Maybe worthy of good things, perhaps I wasn’t a horrid person because I saw life differently. Had different truths. Knew different paths.
Maybe instead I needed to throw out the ‘tapes’ and start listening to my own music. And dance to my music. and find others that can hear my music, or at least acknowledge that I hear mine and my music is not wrong. and maybe it is not to late to learn to dance in the rain and swirl my skirts and spin…………………
So perhaps I am a little more cynical. As hard as it is for me to get a date…..getting a second date is even harder and rarer. So pardon me for being less than all in after meeting you. I’ve got to pull up my drawbridge and batten down the hatches. Emotional storm ahead. Low expectations and no expectations. Yeah I guess that is cynical.
This is me in the corner, losing my religion. I thought you were real and not just a dream. But you are still gone and I am all alone. And I am so damn tired of pretending to be okay. I’m not okay. I am drowning in the lonely sea all by myself and no one will save me. I miss you so damn much and I weep with frustration of wanting one more day, one more hour, one more moment with you.