Today I bought a memorial candle for my father. He died on March 22, 2014, but this is the first candle I lit in his memory. I don’t even know why. I pulled out the scarf that I took while cleaning out his room in the home where he stayed and wore it a few days ago. A little piece of him wrapped around my neck. The scent of a man who was a mystery to me.
Yesterday, as I left my sister’s home, a deep feeling of sadness came over me. I looked at my family, the siblings that were his legacy, and saw in each of us the pain and loneliness that was his. We long to connect to one another and we don’t know how. We run away from difficult feelings that we cannot face. We have each developed ways of coping in the world, to shield us from the hurt we endured. And we are still struggling with these wounds.
I have worked hard to find peace with my father and can accept that he was doing the best he could with the tools that were given to him. But what continues to surprise me is how far reaching the impact of his actions is. I want to mourn and cry over the loss, but the loss of his life is only a small piece. There is a greater loss that remains silent and looming. It is the loss of what a father should have been and the pain of three daughters who never felt good enough.
We are what remains. Beautiful, strong, fragile and weary, we carry on his legacy. We try our best to build ourselves up, to overcome, to love and to laugh. We try to tell the ones we care about how much we love them, even if it hurts. Even if we are afraid that they will leave us. We are a brave and broken bunch.
So today I light a candle for you, Dad. There was a time when you were young and hopeful too.