Monday, October 8, 2012

On Being Vulnerable

My dad is disabled. One could say he is physically challenged. You see, he died 21 years ago this past July. There is not a July that goes by without a flood of thoughts about him flying by in my minds eye. I am fully aware of what July represents to me⎯the loss of one of my very best friends. I don’t dwell on his memory or go around morose on the anniversary of his death or anything like that. But I do find it interesting how many feelings crop up for me.

I think of him off and on throughout the year, but it is July when my loss seeps into so much of my life. We were much more than father and daughter. We were two peas in a pod, somehow an ageless connection. He got me, I got him⎯it was that simple. We shared many ups and downs of life, and it is that particular thing, the sharing, I miss through the ups and downs of my daily life without him.

It is interesting how vulnerable and disabled I am to these feelings as they percolate to the surface from time to time. I still think of him anytime I want to share the good or the bad news, as we always had in the past. As these thoughts surface, I smile to myself or comment to him out loud as I express myself to the universe.

I never know when a story, a song, a word or a glance from some unknown person will set my thoughts of him reeling. Sometimes these thoughts bring an immediate upwelling of tears. Again, I find myself chatting to the universe as I say, “Miss you dad.”

I know he is as much a part of me as he always has been. His little sayings or singsongs come to mind often. I smile to myself as I use them in my everyday chattering. Yes, I may be vulnerable to these feelings after all these years, but these feelings help keep me linked to one of the best friends a girl could have, disability withstanding.

Vulnerability crops up in our lives when we least expect it. This vulnerability can disable us if we allow it. Death gives us a glimpse of mortality and the fragility of life. There is nothing wrong with any of this, but it is up to us to realize it all for what it is, deal with it, somehow cherish it if need be and move on; after all, as my dad would say:

  • “It’s enough to make a man drink his own bathwater”
  • “Don’t take any wooden nickels”
  • “No skin off my teeth”
  • “Try and try again”
  • “Sometimes a little rain must fall”
  • “Onward and upward”
  • “Home again, home again jiggity-jog”

I write this in an attempt to deal with the fullness in my heart, which I carried in July of this year, as I celebrate the life of a man worth knowing. I now share my feelings with the electronic universe as I say, “Miss you dad.”

Note: the above dad sayings are phrases we have heard from past written words in rhyme, books and movies. These dad sayings must have meant a great deal to my dad as he used these and many more throughout his lifetime.
Together photo courtesy of Spirit-Fire