Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Paths Divergent

It is said that time heals all wounds. It's been 3 years ago now that I got this particular one. I can still hear my brother's voice on the phone telling me that Dad had slipped away and succumbed to the cancer that had been advancing in spite of medicine's best efforts. We had just been home not even a week before and I knew the shape he was in. A surprise, it wasn't. A shock... oh, yeah.

The tears certainly come fewer and further between now, and if that's a measure of healing then I suppose I'm healing. But the crushing sadness that comes with them, when they come, weighs no less. I don't think it ever will.

My daughter's 4 now (a fact she'll supply to you whether you ask or not and frequently, besides) and her awareness of the larger world grows by the minute. When she figured out that my in-laws were "Mommy's mommy and daddy" it took her just the time to look at the picture I have up of my parents to make the connection. She also knew that someone in that picture wasn't at Grandma's house when we were there last time.

"Is that your Daddy?" she asked. I said yes, the regret that he couldn't be here to see her now forming a silent knot in my chest. "Where is he?" she wanted to know. "He's in Heaven with Jesus," I replied. (We've broached the subject of religion now.) I knew she didn't get the concept fully, yet, and that was OK. It was the only answer I could give her. She nodded, though, and got a serious look as she looked back at the picture.

"Do you miss your Daddy?" she asked.

Perceptive kid. "Yes," I told her, "I miss him very much." Ever the empath, she felt my sadness then and gave me a hug, telling me that "it'd be alright." She's just using the same phrase we use with her, but the thought was there. And with her and my wife giving me a hug at that moment, I appreciated her thoughts.

Yes, I do miss my Dad. On this day, particularly, I miss him.

Love ya, Dad.