Writing About My Father, Day 28
I do not know what to write on this last day. Despite 28 days of writing about my father, despite nearly 44 years of having him as my father, I’m still not sure what the story is. What I want from him are words of love and apology. What I want to give to him are words of love and apology. It should be a simple transaction, but I do not yet see the story where that is how it ends. I do not think all can be forgiven, if in forgiving, you expect some sort of forgetting. If I forget the ways in which my father has wounded me, then I fear I will also forget him entirely. It doesn’t seem possible to remember afternoons spent around the kitchen table talking about how he will put up nets to keep the birds from the cherry trees some day, without also remembering the casual digs about my weight or the ways in which I exist for him only when I sit at that table. I think forgiveness is, instead, a sort of bearing of the good and the bad, of understanding that neither can be fully appreciated without the light of the other. Forgiveness, too, is worrying that you might forget, and understanding that what persists might be absence. But even in the happiest of relationships, isn’t that what lasts when the relationships is done? That knowing that something is missing? That knowledge that even if you were full of each other from beginning to end, at the death of one the other is left empty? Is it in the ending that I finally get the relationship I wanted all along, the one where there is a reason for the absence, and missing my father becomes another form of love?