Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Dad is a Balloon that I Let Go

My Dad is a balloon that I let go, floating up into the white fluffy clouds in the blue sky. He got smaller and smaller as he got closer to heaven. After I lost sight of him, I kept looking among the clouds for the tiny speck that was my Dad. Now I look for him everywhere.

I look for him by the chicken coop, holding a bag of chicken feed. I look for him at the liquor cupboard, pouring a small glass of Chartreuse. I look for him in his recliner in the TV room, patting Bert and telling him what a good dog he is. I look for him in my son’s eyes. Andy’s eyes are hazel and oval, not like my Dad’s round brown eyes, but Andy has that same sly look when he’s about to make a joke. At other times, Andy has my Dad’s intense, focused, thoughtful look. You can almost see his brain working.

I look for him in Linnea’s face. She and my Dad took on many of each other’s mannerisms over 30 years of intimacy. She also has so much of his history in her head. They raised two children, coped with plumbing emergencies, drove across Australia in an old Volkswagen van, and had so many other adventures together. She remembers his virtues, his generosity, his gentleness, his thoughtfulness. She remembers his vices, his indulgence in food and drink, his secrecy, and his desire for control.

I look for him in the mirror. His eyes look thoughtfully back at me from my reflection. They tell me that he loved me and took good care of me. They tell me that my virtues are commendable and my vices don’t matter very much. They tell me to stay close to Linnea, to visit Jesse and Psyche, and to take good care of my husband and children.

His eyes tell me that death isn’t so bad, and to be grateful for all that I have done with my life, as he was grateful for his life. – Julia Philips, August 22, 2007

1 comment:

Therese said...

Thanks for writing this.