It has now been so long since I have heard your voice, laugh or stories. I am now almost a score (20 years) without you. So much has happened in the world now, Daddy. So much has changed, and yet stayed the same. I became a Mom, the country got a black President and I became a published writer who preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I miss you, Dad. I miss when the safest place was your shoulders. I remember how full your laugh was, and how you taught me how to hustle and not take ‘no’ for anything I wanted. I remember what you told me about people who design to stop me–and how to avoid foolishness at all cost. I’ve tried my best to do that, Daddy. Being meek as a dove, and wise a serpent, the Good Book says.
I tell the kids about you, show them your pictures, and relay your legend by my memory and voice. I tell them how you grew up, how you got to be so intelligent, and how because I am your daughter, they, too, shall excel and do and be.
In my writing now, I confront the impasses of time. I try to correct them through imagination when memory’s imagery tells me otherwise.
I remember as I grew up, I began to feel as if I couldn’t do anything right, nothing was good enough, and the fact that I no longer wanted to be cardio-thoracic surgeon? But a writer? That seemed to devastate you.
The fact that I wanted to heal with word and not deed seemed to push me further from you. From that root, I began to despise you…with all I held, until I could no longer find love…until I could not find you again.
There is an impasse now, Daddy. This great chasm that I cannot come to you or you to me. Between us now is regret and time. You have not seen the woman that I have become. The things that I have overcome, the willingness to be passionate and go after what I want. You will ever remember me as a seventeen-year-old girl. Oblivious to her thirty-five year old counterpart.
I made the decision to forgive you, Daddy. I made the choice to forgive you for being what you thought was adequate to equip me. That’s the job of good fathers: to be prophets for their children, to help them around blind curbs and dark alleys. Some of us get those lessons in toughness quicker than others. Some times, those prophets know they won’t be there always to hold the left children to assure their passage.
I hated that I didn’t feel worthy, that I didn’t feel good enough. I hated that I couldn’t fix this, Dad. I am jealous now when I see my friends still enjoying their fathers in their midlife still. I try not to be, and have adopted Father-figures at points by other older men in my life. For that, I am grateful.
I understand that there are irrevocable, non-negotiable things in this life. Death is one. Parental love another. I know you loved me, Daddy. I know that you tried as hard as you could to be there with me, and make sure that I was okay…gon’ stay okay, and remain okay.
You said that one day we would sit around talking about you. Welp, you always knew you would be a legend…just didn’t know how big.