Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Farewell

My husband lost his father this month, to a long and bewildering mystery disease. Officially I think it's been finally named 'brain cancer' but those two words are insufficient explanation, given by baffled doctors only a week or two before his death, for the last two years of his life.

In person David was unassuming - quiet to the point of near silence, introspective almost to an obsessive degree. You could well forget he was in the house.

He saw much and said little.

As opposite as we were to each other, he treated me at all times as if I were his own daughter. That is to say, his characteristic reticence applied to all of us equally. He never said much to me on the infrequent occasions when we were in the same room. Not because of who I was, but because of who he was.

But email, when it came along, was a boon to him. He grabbed hold of it as if it were a voice he could finally use. Messages from David would arrive in my inbox with a frequency and a cheerfulness that never ceased to amaze. Often I couldn't imagine him actually speaking so many words in person. Not only the number of messages, but their tone, was unprecedented. Normally David reserved his emotions, but when emailing he was able to be more open...and to use exclamation marks liberally.

In 2010, after the death of my best friend, I wrote a long series of very open and heartfelt posts. I hadn't thought much about their audience, but I found out afterwards, to my great surprise, that David was keenly reading every single one.

Four months after her death, when I had written my last post about it, he sent me an email that floored me. It was the most I have ever seen into his heart, before or since, in the 18 years I've spent in his family. And now, when we have parted from each other, I realize how apt his words were - how perfectly they described his own true self.

I have struggled a bit over whether to include his message, bearing in mind that if you were all seated in a room and there was a microphone at the front, Dad probably would not have stood there and said it with his own words. But then I thought that however foreign it may have been to him, and in whatever eccentric light I might have appeared to him, Dad valued my complete openness.

So here is David's message to me, and, really, his message about himself. I post it with respect, to honour him.

Goodbye Dad, with my love and thanks.

I had this one thought yesterday, when your parcel were sorry not to have some "pretty" wrapping .....I thought it is not the outside which is important, but what the inner content is, whether applied to a parcel or a person.  The old expression,"it is the thought that counts" can apply to many of life's encounters.  Having just read your Pacific blog, which I will shortly show Mom, I am struck by how much that old expression applies to your parcel "wrapping" concern and  to you over-all as a person.  And how truly impressive were the words of the blog and how enjoyable the final picture....the one Mom and I had thought was just terrific! have a marvelous talent for writing how you feel,  how circumstances  are dealt with, no matter how severe or difficult they may be,  and how in the end, life does go on,  with one becoming more aware of how life's moments can be so precious if only we take a breath and consider how significant those moments are.  

May your Blessings be great... 


Jeannette said...

I am very sorry for your loss. Loss is never easy, but sometimes it is particularly hard. Please accept my sympathy, and good wishes for healing of your hearts.

lizbon grav said...

My first thought was, No, not another one. Shan has had too much.

And then I read on and thought other things. How beautifully you see things. How beautiful things are. How much this makes me think of The Little Prince. I think you know the bit I mean.

I love you. I'm sorry to hear this, and glad, so very glad you're you.

Brenda said...

I popped in to say thanks for the beautiful story of loss that you shared in the comments of Cast On, to find another story of recent loss in your life. My sincere condolences.

And thank you for sharing the story of your friend. I was saddened to hear of her passing, and deeply moved to learn that my podcast helped her during recovery.

All the best,