Thursday, August 6, 2009

Leaving MA

So my least favorite parts of our wonderful trips up to MA are:

1. Leaving my mother by herself
2. Visiting my Dad's grave

I hate that she's alone. I hate that my "visits" with my Dad have been reduced to looking at a stone and wondering where exactly he is.

I think I'm fairly okay and then my eyes sting every time I write one of these posts, reminding me how not okay I am. I'm just not okay.

I don't know how my mom does it. How she stays up there with so many reminders all around her all the time. She's always been a strong woman, though. Me? I'm not like her in that way. She sort of keeps on trooping. I curl up in a corner and cry.

Every time we go up there, we drive by places and I am transported back in time. Back to the McDonald's in my hometown where my Daddy would take me, just me and him, and buy me anything I wanted because he loved nothing more than to see me happy and enjoying myself. Back to I-195 where my Dad would drive me back and forth daily, lane drifting much of the way, to school when I was a little girl, telling me how much he loved me and how to protect myself on the playground. Back to the house he built for me to grow up in and the beautiful yard that he meticulously kept for me to play in, to know, to explore, to enjoy, to love.

These places always get to me. Emotions well up. Thoughts go back in time to memories and then return to the present in a search for understanding that doesn't really ever quite come.

This time it was the gym. He was a fantastic, competitive athlete and tennis was his game of choice as he got older. Often, he would take me along to his gym and I'd sit in the lobby area high above the courts and watch him play while I'd eat a snack that I'd get there. I'd watch him through the glass. And I'd smile so big and happily when he'd look at me between sets and give me that wonderful smile and a side-to-side wave.

As we drove by the gym this time, my thoughts had a voice. It was trying to make sense of things (again) and it said, "This is where I used to come with him. He played tennis here. He was active and vibrant and healthy. He used to be right there in that building. With me. He used to be alive. All those times . . . all those tennis games . . . what do we have from it now? What did all those games leave us? What do we have to show for it?"

This got me thinking of what really endures, what is really passed on, what really lives on. What has he left us? What do we have that shows he was here, shows his influence? So much of what we do in life is ephemeral. A tennis game. A treat at McDonald's. The sweat of his play has long since blended in with the world around that gym's courts. The taste of that fish sandwich has long gone. Even my childhood home is owned by another family and it's so different now.

But what lasts . . . what lasts most are the characteristics that are uniquely his. His legacy. His best self. What lives on are the things he's taught by simply being a good man, a fabulous father, a loving grandfather. What lives on, what stands out is all that he has always been--a generous man, a giving man, a kind man. Patience, candor, gentleness. A respect for hard work, a drive for doing one's best, a focus on giving to others. What lives on are those many things people told us at his wake, ways he's touched their lives, ways he's made them feel looked out for, ways he's blessed others by his very existence. What lives on for me, in me, and what matters to me are the moments he's spent with me, the things he's taught me by simply being who he is, the space and love and freedom he's always given me to be who I am, to develop my best self.

I miss him. I miss him looking out for me. I miss him checking in on us and always making sure we're okay. I've always felt that he'd never, ever, EVER let us be wanting and I miss that very much. The feeling is a bit lonesome. He has provided for me and has always been generous and giving with us. And I'm so grateful for that and know how much that means to him. He died knowing that he was leaving but passing on all that he had so that none of us would lack or suffer or go without. He worked hard, damn hard, to give, give, give to us, to make our lives better, to make it so we wouldn't go through the poverty and hunger he had gone through. Even in his "golden years" and after all that hard work, he often went without the extra niceties of life--by choice--so there'd be more for us. He never put himself above his children. NEVER. All of this . . . to make sure we wouldn't want.

But I am wanting. I am wanting my Dad. I feel a very real, very deep sense of lacking -- I am a grown woman who at the same time is a sad and confused and hurt little girl who misses her Daddy. Very, very much.


Lindsay said...

I really do not have anything that I can comment, but just that I am thinking of you. Your dad sounds like an amazing person! Love ya.

Jimmy said...


I hope it gets easier for you.

I love how you pay tribute to your father.


J Fo said...

Thanks you so much for sharing these hard things. You are such a good example to me of really being true to yourself and being in touch with your feelings. I'm sure your dad is still looking out for you, just in a different way now.

the emily said...

I think about that sometimes--about why I care so much about the material world when it doesn't matter. I like the thought of having a real legacy to leave behind. I wonder what yours will be?

Boquinha said...

Thank you, everyone, for the comments, the nice words, and the thoughts. I appreciate your insights. It gives me things to think about. And just the fact that you've taken the time to read, consider, and comment on this warms my soul.

melanie said...

praying for you

Boquinha said...

Thank you, Melanie. It's very kind of you to visit and take the time to read and comment. :)

Dr. Mark said...

I think we all miss your Daddy. I don't know that those feelings will ever really go away. Nor do they necessarily have to. I can see the trips have such a dichotomous effect on you, but I'm glad we have all of it to share, difficult or not. I love you.

Life with Kaishon said...

This made me cry. And cry. And cry. I will pray for your Mom tonight.

Life with Kaishon said...

I was going to read one more post just to tell you that I loved your blog name and then I read that. Wow.

Boquinha said...

LWK, thank you so much for your kind words. And for the prayers. I'm so glad you stopped by!

Chelle said...

Beautiful Stacy. I don't know how you make sense of the death of someone you are so close to and love so much. Thanks for sharing.

Tara said...

Dearest Stacy:

I'm so sorry. I'm sending you my love-


terahreu said...

How difficult to be reminded of your loss everywhere you look. I could never understand why Axel's dad lived in the house that constantly reminded him of his 2 sons passing. Then again, I think time heals. As you develop more memories with your children and your mother there, I am sure it will become a tad bit easier.

The other thing is, it is a blessing to have those reminders. As difficult as it is, how blessed you are to have so many great memories with your dad.