can we go back and get it better next time?

My Father 1922-2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It has been one year today since my father passed. I am confounded as what to say.

I know what I wish. I wish we could go back and do it over again-to try and see if it could be different, to see if it could be changed.

I know what I wonder as my mind ponders the thoughts of him now knowing as if some kind of mystical  translation takes place as one passes where all is shown and everything is finally understood. I wonder if he knows.

Last year when I wrote a dedication to my father it was the same time of day and the same darkness outside,the light of day had not yet broken. I know then my words could not detail the way that I love my father, nor can I find the words today that can explain.

It is an odd sort of date-today’s date. Two years ago this date my mother spoke to me on the telephone telling me how my father and her were trying to find a holiday gathering they had been invited to. It was raining and my father had a hard time finding the address-blinded by the rain my father sideswiped a parked truck. Later when they found the address my father had intended to go in and apologize and excuse themselves from attending. Instead Dad had fallen right outside of the car and sat there for a length of time before somebody had seen him.

I could not hear this story from my mother. As she told it to me my heart was wrenching inside of me from the helplessness of it all and compounded with the memory of my father sitting in the street 40 some years ago holding the dying body of my smallest brother-his body crushed by an automobile. I wept as I begged her to quit giving me this account of my father sitting in the street, in the rain.

Like depression you try to take and block everything out-closing the drapes to darken the room and hiding the rest of you under the covers of the bed, and it is still there-just darker.  The memories of things you want to go away.

Years ago there was a rock and roll song by a group called Mike and the Mechanic’s. It was a song about a mans wish that he told his father things while he was still alive-that he loved him. The song was called ‘In the Living Years’. I remember last year driving up to see Dad with my son and his family-we knew it was close time time for him to go. I had a lot that I would have liked to have told him-I did say “I love you”-and he mumbled “I love you” back, the last words he ever spoke to me.

Back when that song came out-I guess it was in the 1980’s…I heard it and it moved me to think of my own father. I loved my father-and I knew he loved us. That was shown to me the day our brother was killed.

I heard the song and drove to Orlando to Dad’s to tell him I loved him-but that night he looked at me as if I was nuts,he did not say “I love you” too.

My father never knew the real reasons I enlisted in the Navy. The most highest of them was to turn my life around-to get it better. Life in the high school days were not smooth at home-nor in school, so the Navy had the answer.

I don’t understand everything there is to know about the Holy Bible. I do realize enough to know that brothers were put up against brothers in many chapters of the book-and there are many other pestilences that come against man. I never really thought about it until I learned  later how true it all is. My experience with my brother in the Navy proves it is so.

I never will know what my brother told my father-I don’t know what it is that my father believed. I do know what my father never knew-and that is the truth.

It seems ironic-and it might as well be so, that my father dies right at the crixmix season. My whole life in my memory evolves around the so called season of cheer. I tried to come home my first Christmas away from home-I had legitimate permission to be there…although,my Christmas was going to wait until New Years-that’s the way the ship was divided up. My surprise was planned on miscalculation. I had thought I could stretch out the holiday by a few extra hours and still be aboard ship for roll call. I did not count on snow-and it snowed the worse it had in a hundred years that night. Fortunately-the hours I tried to stretch were the beginning hours of my leave-not my ending. That was about the only thing fortunate.

I’ll never know what the conversation was between my brother and our father-all I know is my brother was sent by the ships master at arms (police) to arrest me.

I know what my father might have been told. I also know what he never knew-that the Navy was going to help me continue my education, or so I was told. He never knew how proud I was to be there-how much it meant to me and that I had planned to make the Navy a career. The Navy made promises-my brother worked to tear them down.

How many times must I weep about what happened? Thinking about today exhausted me yesterday-and this morning I woke earlier than usual-my dreams were erratic and bizarre, as often-about prison. I woke this morning doing exactly as I have for every day since my first day at barracks D-an inventory of my memory slams me the moment I awake,as it must-since I dreamt about it all night. I cannot go to  the bathroom with out remembering. I cannot shower with out being reminded. I cannot go through my day with out the memory.

How much more can be added to the next week of total reminders-my rapes in barracks D began on the last day of December-and the day had not even but just begun,it was just around two in the morning. I can always remember the New Year,all the crixmix jungle of trees and glitter-all of it like a festering sore. And the father I wanted so much to please -dies.

So, from where I sit I look out through the glass doors to the east. The sky is reddish orange from the sun rising. I am grateful for its beauty on this morning coming as if a a mystical message from my father is there-along with a Spiritual message,saying “I know”. At least I can get that peace from it.

One Response to “can we go back and get it better next time?”

  1. Austin Says:

    I just wanted to let you know I read this. I don’t know what to say to you but I did want to let you know I am listening to your voice.


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