Thursday, August 03, 2006

Words and actions

How hard it is to learn you're not the person you thought you were. That you're not even the person you wished you were, and that, in some ways, you just cannot do anything to bridge that distance.

I've always been someone who believed I'd be there for the people I loved whenever they needed me. And honestly, I'm trying. But I can't stop this train. I can't even lift you off the floor by myself - though I promise you, I'll try again, and even if it's only for a few hours, like yesterday, we'll get you on your feet again.

But someday soon the time will come when I cannot stop this at all, or even help it, and inside I know I'll feel like I've failed you. It's already starting to consume me, the knowledge that no amount of love or care or time or help will circumvent the reality, or make your departure any easier on either of us.

Wednesday, as you sat there, looking sad and confused, defeated, legs akimbo, your hair all over the place, you never looked more like your father. Leaving you, I remembered how broken I was back when he died, how strong you were, tucking kleenex into my pockets, putting your arm around the shoulder of my navy blue wool coat as I wriggled in the church pew, trying to find somewhere to hide. I was so mad at him for leaving me, because he was the greatest friend and I was too young to understand.

And stubborn as I am, despite my age, I again keep wanting to do nothing more than rail, throw a fit, make this all just stop, somehow. What I wouldn't give to go back, even five years, back when I thought you weren't doing well. Where comparatively speaking, you were terrific - only I didn't know it. Not much progress, all these years.

I'll carry you as far as I can. I promise. Just like you used to carry me around on your shoulders, back when I thought you were a giant in control of the entire universe. As much as it is humanly possible, I want to be the person I always said I was - the person you've always been for me, dad. But when the time comes when nothing I can do will mean anything or make anything better, I'll try not to be mad at you for having to leave me - and not mad at myself for being unable to make any difference at all.
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