Dad, who died.

Michael Spring

How many times did he die to me?

Too busy. Asleep on the couch. "Frustrated"- his whole life was frustrated. When Mom died, and he fled across the continent, to a woman he'd known for seventy years? When his wife said "any minute" two years ago? When I went to see him a year ago, wheel chair and oxygen tank? When my brother called?

When I couldn't, wouldn't, didn't forgive him?

Why do I demand that he be so much more than he was? Because he did the same to me?

Why do I think the flu epidemic of 1918 was the most important event of my life? Because his mother died, his father ran from him, and he grew up in the shadow of a brother?

The fact is, he hasn't died yet. This is not theology, this is the simple fact that until I let him, he will not die. And how can I let him, when I can't really find him, because he is hidden behind my false memories and expectations, my anger, my sibling's anger?

And why can't I make a simple statement about his death?

He's dead. I miss him. I miss both the dad I wanted, the dad I had, and realize I never knew either of them. I wish I knew how to start.

You can send email to Michael at [email protected]
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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW