I am missing R again today. It is hard not to what with upcoming Father’s Diay being a cultural endorsement. This specific arrow aimed at remembrance for fathers hits the mourning target for me. It isn’t that Father’s Day was such a big deal in our family once the girls were out of the house. That day was the summer engine that always pulled his birthday car down the tracks a week later. Followed by Marion’s birthday 2 weeks after that. Father’s Day was small while the Cancer birthday signs loomed large.
Once the girls were out of the house a card or phone call to him from them would do. I used the day as an opportunity to write him a parenting partnership poem in acknowledgement of all he gave. I wrote him another one yesterday though melancholy clutched at me. It helped to sit down and craft words to express my leaky heart.
Richard preferred a homemade anything to a bought gift. He deeply appreciated a card promising snow shoveling support next winter, or horse poo shoveling in any season, or a massage. Of course, a special meal was always prepared with chocolate chip mint ice cream accompanying the finale. He didn’t much enjoy surprises although once in a while we hit it right. Sharing an experience together was always the way he felt best loved.
Yesterday the pain in my heart was strong. It kept pulling me out towards my loss, yearning for Richard to fill the hole empty of companionship, familiarity, the peaceful refuge of knowing I am loved by him no matter what. Understanding it was a hopeless longing only made it feel worse.
I was thinking of what I heard a teacher say about human love- that it is the experience of being so close to someone that you feel you are two becoming one. That is like a mini experience of the longing for Oneness, of the longing for God that we all have. The longing is an inherent intolerable misconception of our separate finite existence. We imagine that God, the Love we seek, is outside of us somewhere out there.
Now I know that Oneness is us. I saw when Richard was dying, that when cancer consumed his personality, he was Love itself. That Love is us, is what all religion calls God. The tug pulling me away from the pain in my heart is what I am learning to reverse. The equally compelling tug pulling me inwards is my yearning to be whole. It is my yearning for the contented fulfillment of Love’s refuge. Richard was the almost fifty year appetizer to whet my appetite for God. He was also my mirror, reflecting Love back towards me. He was my human face of Love for so many years. Now when I inwardly track my specific ache for him, I can see and taste and feel the thread expanding into a limitless ocean which holds us all.
I am the one receiving a gift for Father’s Day this year.
Harvesting Father’s Day
You aren’t here to celebrate
but your fathering love is
The delight of your daughters
bestowing you with sticky cards
spilled coffee and burned toast
Ferocious Kerpolean transformed
into wimpy little Sneezy
with a touch of the button
at the end of your nose
From schools to camps to colleges
helplessly loving them
from the moment of birth
the paradox of letting heart investments
out into an impersonal world
confounding challenges triumphs and tragedies
beyond your control
You can rest assured.
They are well poised safe and secure
Their gorgeous strong arms carry all you gave
personalizing the world they live in
the day of the father
is not a day but
a lifetime of fathering fruits
Today you give us the gift of remembering Love.