Last night I lay awake gazing at the moon and listening to the crickets. and the wind whispering in the trees. I was thinking about all you taught me, all I learned, and the things we did together. everything in my life that brought me to this point, this very moment.
What am I looking for now I wonder? How will I go on? How will I find the perfect balance between the old and new. of childhood and adulthood. of home and away. love and grief. life with and without you. Surely by now I must realize that life is imperfect. fleeting. fragile. a reality that has always created fear within my heart. A fear that I have always tried to escape and that I now know is impossible. the fear of losing someone I love. My longing for love, home and to be among the people and places I love is real. true. In my heart I want to recapture the idealist childhood I remember. But I now understand that the price we pay for moving on, living a long life, is the very nostalgic, bittersweet awareness of what we have left behind. I am left with the task of weaving yesterday with today into a secure fabric for tomorrow. All that has happened has illuminated a deep knowledge in me that we are only given a brief moment in time.
You were born the fourth of five children, to simple and loving parents who taught you to value the things that really matter, such as the importance of having respect and spending time with your family. I never tired of your stories of them, and the lessons they taught you still live on through me and through your memories. You embraced your heritage and culture. You taught us about life. I felt protected and safe, and for me now, the world seems just a bit more scary without you in it. Growing up, you built us a tree swing, hung hammocks, taught us how to love, the value of hard work, and of course, how to seek out and be kind to others, especially those less fortunate. As a father and teacher, you have always made the effort to guide us, sharing your version of what is right and what is wrong, but whether we listened to and followed that guidance has always been mainly up to us. you preferred an approach of logic and reason.You are a man who seeks and explores contrast. You were raised to have faith, but by your own choice, you have never found religion. You put yourself through school, you became a teacher. You chose a noble profession, yet you had no real ambition for greatness.
Did you prefer that I choose a path different from the one I am now on? maybe? you never said. Thank you for trying to influence and prevent me from making mistakes, but at the same time, for giving me the confidence to decide for myself, and the courage to make mistakes of my own anyway. From you, I inherited my green thumb, my smile, my love for animals, a penchant for reading and writing, some tenacity, a complete disdain of anything lazy, a love for family, and an empathy for my fellow man.
I found myself thinking about your wings. Not about the actual idea of using flapping wings to get to the top of a mountain, but a more metaphorical wing. The wings I speak of are not feathered means of flight to be flapped up and down, but rather ideas. Like your wings, mine are tools to help a me go higher and farther. They cannot be bought or sold. They are the tools we use to improve our lives…the skill sets we learn and practice. For me those wings are my writing, nurturing those I love and all the things I learned from you that I have applied to my life. But wings have to be earned. And I finally realized that we earn our wings when we pass on our experiences to others. Father to daughter, friend to friend, and sometimes even child to parent.
So now, we both have our wings dad, and I can’t wait to go flying with you again.
In the distance I can hear the low rumble of a train, and for a moment I feel at peace. I drift off to sleep as I always do now, thinking of you.
I miss you.