A to Z Challenge...
ABC's of My Life~
…the gift of understanding-
This is a follow up to the letter “D” for Dad. Some of you recommended forgiveness which has already been appropriated to him. However, through forgiveness and knowing bits and pieces of what his life entailed, I’ve been presented with another gift just as powerful--the gift of understanding.
|My sister, Dawn, Dad and me.|
Again, I say, he is my father and don’t we have lessons to be learned from those that came before us? That being said, I search for meaning and answers to my father’s existence which takes me back to his death. Just as he lived his life alone, he also died alone. He was found in his darkened apartment by the city police when no one had seen or heard from him in days. He was slumped in his worn reclining chair one foot from his big screen TV given that his eyesight had failed him and blaring from the box was ESPN, a direct result of hearing gone bad. His false teeth were located beneath the chair side table that held his magnifying glass and an old photo of my sister and I of all things. A path to the door was vacant of all furniture and remnants that clearly were swept aside as the goal of the medical examiner was to recover the body of what was once my Dad.
|About a month before his death~|
These artifacts were suddenly the ashes of the burnt out dreams scattered to the wind of my father’s life including a write up in the sports section of the Fostoria Tribune that announced Robert Currier to be one of only two four-year varsity lettermen football players in the history of Fostoria High School, and interestingly enough, to this day there are only seven such individuals with this distinct honor.
He was a shining star in his own right that led to a college scholarship to Ohio University to play the sport he loved. He was deserving of the accolades placed at his feet although those were severed two years short by his draft into the Korean War.
We analyzed the dull and dingy trinkets such as his Varsity ‘O’ pin and the carefully engraved diamond cuff links welcoming him to the Ohio University football program, plus odds and ends that would become the puzzle pieces to his life which would lead to an understanding of my own.
Instead of living his dream of that of a shining football celebrity, my Father went off to war and came back a broken man with shattered ideals disguised in a bottle with the anger of an iron fist and razor-sharp words. What was directed toward his family was really anger at the world beyond his control.
No, that doesn’t excuse his actions nor does it make the events orchestrated by him right, but it’s justification of the fight in me labeled competitiveness and why athletics come easy for me. It’s validation for me why I no longer need to hold onto the self-blame I instigated trying to make my dad happy if only I would have been a more perfect daughter.
What's more, it does provide me with understanding to the window of a man’s soul who wanted more from his life, but received much less.
by Lewis B. Smedes