My father died a few months ago. Since his passing, I’ve felt closeness to him that I hadn’t felt in the last 6 months of his life…since he had stopped communicating with me, but I still struggled when I thought about his wife.
I hadn’t seen her in years (her choice) and we’d never had a friendly relationship, so I didn’t expect any communication with her after his death, but I guess I did expect that I would be named, as one of his children, in his obituary. I wasn’t, and neither were any of my siblings (my father’s children) or any of their, or my, children…no one on “our side” was mentioned by name.
When my stepmother’s daughter (whom I had never met) called me to say that my father had passed away and that there wouldn’t be a funeral, she did mention that there would be a memorial service this summer, adding that my father had meant so much to her family.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my father and his wife was there too. My father was very “background” in the dream, and I was fully engaged with his wife…and it was so loving and warm that I felt I was with my best friend. I felt love pouring from both of us toward each other. I woke up feeling that love as a lingering presence and thought, “You now have a new experience of J…” and you also have a choice; you can go back to the past with no good memories of your relationship with her or you can begin again in your mind.” At the time it was very clear what I wanted to do/think. I loved that dream so much and the feelings were so pure. How could I choose resentment or bitterness over that? But in the past few weeks, those feelings have faded and I can feel the old ones creep in again when I think about her…especially since my father had promised me a gift, in his will, when he passed, and it looks like that was changed sometime before he died.
So, here I am, being given the opportunity to choose forgiveness and understanding or resentment and disappointment. I choose the former, because I really do understand. I understand what if feels like to be possessed by fear, self-righteous anger, jealously and a firm resolve not to see another person’s point of view. I’ve lived that in my past and it is hell. I don’t choose forgiveness and understanding because I am a good or spiritual person. I choose it because I have the presence of mind to choose and because I want love inside of me. I want to remember that dream of loving communion and breath deeply the Truth of that. I also want to be forgiven for all of the times that I hurt others when I was too blind to my own pain to do anything else.
Even though my father cut me off at the end of his life, it has come to me that things worked the way they were supposed to. My father adored Jack, and if we had been communicating last summer, I’m sure I would’ve told him what had happened, and it would’ve broken his heart.
So today as I write, I feel lightness in my heart …like there is little laugh right at the edge of my consciousness that wants to burst out. I was going to say that I’m a little poorer (referring to being out of my father’s will) but I’m not poor at all. I have a sense of being OK deep inside…I am in heaven.
Of course! the path to heaven
doesn’t lie down in flat miles. It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
and the gestures
with which you honor it. Mary Oliver