I have few regrets, but I sometimes feel a sadness when I think how you and I were never able to connect or understand one-another. Perhaps Freud was right, that we become who we are at a very early age and we find ourselves locked into a fixed script. And sometimes this makes it difficult to express the things that go unsaid. So, I want to say this, having you as my son has been and always will be the finest of gifts. My favorite memories is the time spent doing little everyday things with you and your sister. It’s funny, how it’s all the small things that comprise a full life. I try my best to remember this in each draining moment.
I see pieces of me in you and I wonder if you see parts of you in me. These days, I just carry little pieces of you from a distant past. There are memories of that little baby I once held. Then there’s the little boy whose hand I’d hold on walks in the woods. I carry the memory of teaching you how to tie your shoes and how to ride a bicycle. Summer drives in grandpa’s truck down country roads lined with peach tree’s and blossoming almond orchards. Sharing holiday dinners at Nana’s old wooden dinner table. Goofy face photographs. Days at the beach and neon lite nights at the boardwalk, the smell of fried corndogs and sticky cotton candy. Waking up to a snow day with no school and skiing on fresh powder. Hikes in the Sierras and the scent of campfire smoke, musty tents, penny ante poker, Monopoly and watching the family dog sleep next to you. And, then there was a teen boy in a hurry to go out and challenge the boundaries of his world. When I turn down all the outside noise, I find myself asking, where has all the time gone?
As hard as one may try, you can never bring your children home again. They have their own dreams and troubles that they must navigate. So, I fight the current of time and want to try to make right the things that I may have missed or failed to do. The middle years of a man’s life can often times be wasted worrying about careers, bills and trying to make something of himself through hollow achievements. Such deceptive mirages we foolishly chase.
It’s a strange thing, me and my dad never really saw eye to eye. We were just different in ways neither could explain. But, I knew he loved me and would do anything for me. He made sacrifices for me and my sisters that I never understood until I was much older. In spite of it all, and buried beneath it all, we had a love that only a family can share. I feel this love towards you and wanted you to know that. And that’s the simple truth.
I remember when my mom passed away, and how at some weird level I was relieved. This thought left me feeling guilty. I vacillated between anger and a morose acquiescence as she became weak and frail. She never complained even though she was in a huge amount of pain and relying on morphine to stave off the misery. I should have been braver and held her hand. I should have told her how much I loved her and that she was the best mother I could ever of had. I should have told her that if she needed to go, I understood and that she would always be missed. I should have told her not to worry about me and that her family would be fine. But I hid behind my fear, believing she must already know these things, pretending I’d still have time to say the things that needed to be said——-how fucking stupid was that.
I apologize if this letter comes off awkward and overly forthright. I suppose I wrote it as much for you, as for myself———You see, this letter is an exercise in trying to find ways to be more courageous with my love.
“All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.” Ecclesiastes 3:20
What kind of holy book explains life and death in such a flippant manner? I don’t understand.