Sunday, June 18, 2017
My father.... who art in heaven....and fighting your demons
This father's day..... I am thinking about my father and the relationship we had. This photo above is of me (middle) my neighbors Renee (left) and Nunnie (right) in our neighborhood in Natchitoches Louisiana....before my life took a turn that would forever change me.... moving to Virginia... where I reside once again and have for the last 30+ years. My dad was born and died in the same little town on the cane river, in between he lived in Va, New Orleans, Texas and Mexico.
My dad was in the service for awhile , he served in the Viet Nam War. He collected some charms for his mother and his wife in several of the countries he visited during his tour. He graduated from NHS and continued on and obtained his accounting degree from North Western College .... "Go Demons"
Our relationship was up and down his entire life. He did what he wanted , when he wanted, and how he wanted ... no matter what anyone else said or did... he made his own path .... on his own.
My Daddy did not mince words but he was a wordsmith. He was so smart and had a bunch of sayings that I couldn't help but catch on to. For example he would say things like "I can't see through muddy water" if I sat between him and the television. I can hear him saying that right now. He said "even water tastes good when you have someone to share it with." There were many many "buddy-isms" that come to mind when I think about him.
I remember the good times and the good things he introduced me to. Food, being the most important. He loved to eat good food. He loved to cook and I have his favorite recipe book and his "corn bread" pan. He taught me how to cook although it was in the most unconventional way. Living in New Orleans with him was a huge turning point in my life .... for the better. I could write many a short stories about him and the foodie adventures we had. I will savor them forever.
I remember the outdoor concerts that he took me to, the football games, the beach, disney, provencal, Christmas Festivals, boat rides etc etc etc....he took me on many adventures ...that were life altering.... and I can hear him clearly saying to me "when in Rome....." and making me forget about how I thought about things or my opinion of things ...changing them to Seizing the Day , the moment and learning from the moments, letting go of preconceived thoughts.
My Daddy is not on the earth any more. He was killed in 2012...... He didn't just "die" like most fathers do. Just one day... I got the call.... the call that should not have happened so soon. You see...,most of my fathers family lives to be 90+ on his mothers side. He was feeling better than he had felt his entire life as he had been sober for 4 years. He fought his own inner demons with alcohol until that day he became sober. He doused the voices inside that told him he was not worthy of people's love... especially his own fathers love. He guzzled the liquids and made a face and a noise with each "double beefeaters on ice with extra olives" he downed it and added the smoke . It was his weapon of choice. He conquered his life in this fashion. Every day until he was almost 70 years old.
I miss him. I miss being able to phone home and hear him say "its just like any other day" when I am wishing him happy birthday or happy fathers day or anything of the sort. Even though I thought the day should be special (holidays) he never bought into that ... ever. I still did it... I still made the calls and still wished him the good tidings, even though it was never reciprocated. That unconditional love was like none other. He would much rather me call and tell him I caught a fish or cooked his favorite dish with no holiday or festive occasion. I think he did this because of the "lack" of a father in his own life ... he never had a role model or anything to compare it to (in my mind) or could've been that he waited for those calls that never came from him? I will never know.
My father said he had completed his 12 steps in his life of AA .... I guess that means that eventually - somewhere down the line - he must have accepted that there is a "higher power" but if he did that was something that he never shared with me. If I were to guess, I would guess that my Daddy is in purgatory .... rolling over and over in his grave.... unsettled as he thought he had won his fight over his earthly demons.... when in the end one of them killed him... and put him in a plot he did not want to be in.
We said the Lord's prayer at his graveside service in honor of his sobriety , and AA that saved his life ... well at least from dying the death of an alcoholic... and which he volunteered is Treasurer Service to for the last 4 years on this earth. I knew that he would be happy with that, as he was proud of his success there. I could almost here him speaking his own epitaph, if he could have had it his way .... it would say "ITS A LOCK"
He was 74, the same age as his father that he never knew, the same circumstances surrounded his death ... both buried in another place they did not want to be ...at the hands of their "widows".... that had the power to (even in death) prevent them from that "happy ending" ... that my father spoke about often "ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END"
I miss him so much and yes .... that is a LOCK!