It’s more than a picture, it’s life
Many of us have possessions from our childhood that are so precious we cannot imagine being separated from them. For me, it’s family photos and one in particular of my father when he was 21 years old. A simple picture of a young man before a marriage, children and over 50 years of living.
His picture sits on my desk and if the house caught fire it would be one of the first things I grabbed.
Let me introduce my Father:
Daddy was one of two sons, and he was clearly not the chosen one in his Father’s world. For whatever demented reasons, he was the boy most likely not to be loved by his Father. The younger brother was chosen as the prodigal son and would always remain that way. I’m quite certain a lot of his interior strength, drive and determination to excel came from those lonely nights of sleeping in a shed in the backyard, while his brother slept warmly indoors. The amazing thing is I never heard him complain about those sleeping arrangements, only said that was life with no harm done. Perhaps he was right, and that is where he formulated a life plan that would carry him down the road head held high, heart wide open.
I used to listen each afternoon for that gravel-crunch in our driveway which meant he was home from work. Sitting at the kitchen table, I would be waiting with a smile and hello. I wanted to follow him around the house as he decompressed from his day’s work, but respected his need for a few minutes of silence. That must be where I get my need for quiet from. His examples of selflessness, compassion and care for all humanity were silent threads he wove around all who happened to enter his circle. There was no room for negativity against any race, creed or religion for you would quickly be chastised and then a patient explanation would follow. I learned much at his knee.
Of all the gifts he gave me, the one for my thirteenth birthday was the most memorable. He and I climbed a sand dune at the Outer Banks and atop that sandy crest he validated my existence with a most wonderful life lesson. We talked about many things that summer day, but the one that marked me for life was his saying he loved me. His actions had shown that , but for that moment he let down his protective guard and gave me a lifetime gift.
He said, “I am the only man who will love you the entire length of your life”. At the time it sounded sweet and pleased me much, but it was not until many years later I would realize exactly why he said those words.
On October 22 at 7:27pm, my world was cleaved into a million fragments. My buddy had died. Just like that, he up and left me and there was no warning. All of my life force, blood and energy had been drained through my feet and poured into a gutter. I was a living carcass. I recall having nowhere to go but down, with my face parallel to carpet threads.
I made a vow to him we would speak each day to one another even if I could not see him. His voice might have been silenced, but through wonders of this universe he has kept his word. Whether it is a breeze, a sense of well being or that occasional bluebird feather found on my car’s windshield, his presence is always known to me. Whenever there are moments of great stress in my life, I sit quietly and ask him for guidance and the answers appear as if they were written in ink.
I will continue to live out my life knowing his eyes are forever watching over me. Through living my life caring about humanity, he lives on in me. In this lifetime I shall never meet a finer man and will go to my grave knowing I am always loved.
And, I have the picture…
Posted for this weeks Word Press Writing Challenge:http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-a-few-of-my-favorite-things/