Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The missing walk report: 090313

For whatever reasons I feel obligated to write something when I miss a walk report perhaps it's merely habit now to do this? Maybe I need to reinforce my thinking granted these entries are more for me than anyone else. In case you stumble upon this I'll explain, these posts are often journal-like and with that they can be rather "off-the-cuff."

Yesterday I was focused on getting clear on a process that I have admittedly taken on in a rather piecemeal fashion. I'm going through probate on my mother's estate. She will be gone 6 months tomorrow. There's a lot in the background. There are the emotions, the absence, the memories--constant reminders living here in my childhood home. There is both fondness and heartbreak. There is also a level of frustration in seeing how lives were lived here for close to 60 years now as an adult investigating the "remains" almost quizzically sleuth-like. Why would you do that? Why didn't you do this? What were you thinking? I have found some things too that are heart warming. Letters for one...

Letters between my parents during their separation during World War II. The ones tied in blue satin ribbons from my future dad to my future mom, always with the stamp upside down and numbered in the bottom left corner. For the e-mail and texting world of today, the upside down stamp was a message that said, "I love you" and "I miss you." There are dozens and dozens of letters. The ones from my mother are not so revealing. I see my mom in them, the person I knew all of my life. I see her undying love for my dad despite remarrying and decades passing. But from my father I see a person I never got to know. My father was killed in a tragic auto accident in 1961. I was a couple of months shy of my 5th birthday. In these letters I see a very sweet and caring man. I see a quaint and often simple & uncluttered Midwestern way of thinking. I see his love for my mother. I see a man who probably would've been a really great dad.

Something that also rings in my head reading the letters from my dad, my mom often said to me from teen years into adulthood, "I see a lot of your father in you." This would frequently make me wonder, "how could this be?"

Undying love. Somethings are good to hold on to but you also need to let go and bring your life back to you and those around you when there's a loss. You need to find a balance between fond memories, the loss of a loved one, keeping grief at bay and living out your life. My mother wasn't very good at these things. She carried her loss to her grave.

On a shelf, up above our kitchen sink, was a set of salt and pepper shakers of a boy and girl kissing on a bench. According to my mom these figurines represented my parents, Elsa and Pete. When I was about 6 years old my sister and I were in the kitchen with our mom. Our father was gone now for over a year. I don't recall what mom was angry over but she slammed an upper kitchen cabinet door just next to the shelf and the little boy figurine, "Pete," came tumbling to the floor and shattered. Our mother burst into tears. I said to my mom we could fix it, glue it back together but she insisted there was no fixing to be done and proceeded to throw the broken pieces away. Something happened to me which captured this incident as though it were on film in my memory banks to this day--all of a sudden I realized that death was permanent. My dad's absence took on new meaning that day. Many times over the years it bothered me that my mom kept the figurine of the little girl sitting alone on that bench looking to kiss my father once again. I didn't think that constant reminders like this were very healthy, they keep you from moving on and they suck you back into the grief you once knew too well. You can probably feel the sadness now just looking at this.

Three weeks after my mother passed away I went outside and did this. Now to free myself of the connection it made with my mother for over 50 years.

I wrote "off-the-cuff" but I've wanted to tell this story for awhile so while I started out thinking I would explain the absent walk, it simply started to flow from me. The reasons for missing the walk were rather typical anyway, tired, my back was just killing me yesterday (today it's just being a bitch) and it's hot here last night still 90º near 8 PM. In fact right now it's 103º and this room is 87º so I'm going to turn on the house a/c and have an iced coffee. Thanks if you read this, it felt good to write it down.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Eric. It would've been wonderful to have had our father for longer but, for the period we did, he WAS a great father and we were lucky to have that time, no matter how brief.