My Father as Saint ("Emergence and Conclusion to a Test")
I have often told my husband that my father was like "a pin that kept the bomb from going off." Or, as a domestic violence counselor once told me, "Sometimes the good people in our lives hold everyone else in check from being cruel, and then when they die, the bad people 'let everything loose' because they aren't competing, they aren't being held accountable, the bad they do is no longer going to be corrected, there isn't going to be any talk about "how wrong" it is, and everything that can fall apart, falls apart, and it is like a storm that reels around and around, taking everyone and everything in its path, even the next generation."
That would describe what I saw around me after my father died, a hurricane of the worst of humankind, more evil than I could ever fathom existed in my world at the time before his death.
The weird thing is, I had no predilection that anyone would be cruel, none. Well, one person, but that was it, and I thought it was temporary. In fact, I was often hugged, welcomed with open arms, my itinerary was kept track of, my heartache at the prospect of losing my father respected to the point where I was even comforted. Imagine that: being comforted because your father is dying. Then it all got turned off like a switch after he died, and the lightening of malevolence came out and lashed at me.
If I hadn't known that it was all done for their agenda of power, control and selfishness, I would have died right along with him. But for all the bad that surrounded me, I was also surrounded by some of the most enlightened and empathetic people I had ever met (aside from my father, that is).
One of those persons who went from nice to cruel in my life adopted the phrase "Be nice" as her most common and constant phrase (to many of the people in her life, often said with a little giggle), but apparently she never thought to "be nice" to me under the circumstances of my father's death.
On father's day in 2013 months after my father passed, I wrote, what I thought, was a heartwarming e-mail to a man who I knew, telling about my father and how hard it was to lose such a good man, but that I was trying to get outside the grief and wish him a happy father's day too. It was someone who also felt highly of his own father, and remarked so to me, thus the commonality of feeling we both had for our fathers. The response back was curt and cruel, something to the effect of he did not want to read my e-mail and went so far as to demonstrate where he stopped reading it with the word "snip" and erasing the rest of the sentiment. Now, what would possess a person who just lost their father, the light of their world, to act in such a manner? I never figured it out, and haven't given any thought about his boorish insensitive response except for today.
I am about to live the last of this "hurricane of evil" in a few weeks, and then I am free of all that got caught up in the hurricane: me, my soul, my health, my husband's health, our daughter's faith in others, the innocence we had and lost from the horror around us, my father's blood, sweat and tears fixed into the things he made in joy, the cheating, the jealousy, dishonor, lots and lots of deception, more threats than one usually hears in an entire lifetime, the desperate grabbing for power and control, which is what cruelty is about, without a thought to anyone's feelings or the repercussions of acting this way, some furniture, some art, a piano, everything and anything you can think of that can be taken up in a hurricane (and go wrong after one's father's death).
Although I was not aware of my fate as my father lay on his deathbed, he certainly was. "I was blind, but now I see" is a holy lyric, and he certainly made me see it in every way possible. His parting words to me days before he passed were: "I don't want you to be docile for anyone. They're going to put tremendous pressure on you to be that, to live for them and to take orders, but your spirit is too big for that. You are meant to do something for the world, not to be someone's docile 'yes' girl. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I understand more fully than I ever have before," I would tell him now, though I did plenty of "kicking and screaming" not to go down that path and be tested in that manner.
The freedom from these oppressive set of circumstances seems as inviting and warm as the July sun when it all ends and calls me to go forward, to close the door on the old, and open the door on the new. The brightness of promise! To say goodbye to cruelty and the oppression it brings. I wish my father had also been so lucky (and he was ... a little), but in taking on his karma and traumas, and also his likeness into my soul, I hope I helped live out the conclusion to all of the troubles he had. I hope that what remains left of his spirit will be valued from here on out, that the people who used power to do wrong will be corrected as he would have wanted them to be. I continued the trail for both of us, despite the tremendous setbacks, and the parched landscape that people with hate in their souls like to make of situations and the world, and I hope he would be happy with the conclusion of my part in this.
"I now go into the wild" -- Christopher McCandless