Dad

There you are in black and white

A photo taken posed for the camera

You’re eyes locked with mine.

After you died we were gathering pictures

For a collage to celebrate your life.

I stared at this photo and started to cry–

I wanted to see some kindness there.

I said to my sister, look, don’t you see it?

It’s there in his eyes–it’s there I just know it.

But as I studied it closer, I saw the truth–

Your eyes mirrored back to me the empty,

Shallow space I had always encountered.

What was it that had held you so closed?

What had etched and chiseled the pain

On your heart so deeply and fixed

That you couldn’t feel ours?

You freely shared your depression and darkness

And your deep regret for the life of your choosing.

As I grew older my hate softened to sorrow as I realized

You weren’t capable of being the someone I wanted.

In the shortened span of time at your ending

You remained firmly entrenched in your narcissism.

It was our folly we looked for something more.

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16 Comments

  1. sometimes we think we know the people we love, we think we know our selves.
    Looking at things in retrospect can give way to a lot of , sometimes unwarranted, revelations.

    It was a very touching post Gayle.

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    • Thanks for your input, Amropali–I appreciate your comments.

      Sometimes we know we didn’t know the person in our life very well because they didn’t want us to or they were too afraid to open up. It is what it is.

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      Reply
  2. its painful to see our parents fail. i can understand why they haunt you, even though they can no longer cause you that deep pain.

    i wish things were better for you.

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    Reply
    • Yes it is. What can you do–just let it go and forgive. Sometimes a lifelong process though.

      Thank you for caring.

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      • i believe that the way we forget the pain/wound caused by others is not applicable about parents. i dont think people who are genuinely bruised by their parents ever forget that, they may forgive but the pain remains forever.

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      • That has been my experience. The pain inflicted by my parents has been the most lingering pain. It’s been more difficult for me to move past it. Especially since my mother is still here and the pain is still being inflicted. What a shame…

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      • with time the pain dulls, i wonder if it ever goes away completely, atleast when your parents are still around and are busy adding up with more. 😦

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      • Yes, hard to move past it when the hurt is still being added. Oh, well…

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  3. Sometimes people don’t know how to express warm feelings and that must be painful coming from a father! Just see it this way: you could be like him but no… You are better than he was and that is good for you, for us and I am sure for him too.

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  4. Noreen

     /  April 20, 2011

    This is so beautifully said Gayle xxx

    Like

    Reply
  5. Beautifully written, albeit sad. I am sorry you didn’t have the relationship you would have liked with your Dad. Perhaps you wanted to be in this world so much you chose this man to be your father to learn from it. Who really knows why. But somehow your turned out all right and wrote this beautiful poem still, maybe as a sort of tribute, maybe as a way of understanding and surpassing it. Very nicely done!

    Like

    Reply
    • I think you’re right, Michele–I believe we choose the life experiences we’re supposed to have (and the parents) to best support what we need to learn while we’re here.

      Thank you for your insightful thoughts and sharing them with me.

      Like

      Reply
  6. Heart wrenching. People can’t give us what they don’t have themselves. Sad for you. Sadder for your day. Hugs!

    The poem is extremely well done, Gayle. Excellent.

    Like

    Reply
    • It has made me more compassionate to children who have this struggle. My heart goes out to them all.

      Thank you for your generous comments, Jamie.

      Like

      Reply

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