For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my father who passed away from cancer when I was five. I naively told myself that it would get easier. That the more years I put in between that day of finding out in the hospital to this day where I am here now, typing this piece at a computer in a college library, would somehow magically equate to a growing distance from heartache. The older I get, however, I seem to grieve in various ways. People have saved my life over the years dealing with confusing emotional outbreaks and I love them dearly for it. They practiced commitment to my moments of bereavement in which I feel I will never be able to properly thank them for. But writing has saved my life as well.
When I first came to college, I was a health administration major, I wanted to be a legal drug dealer to doctors. After realizing the projected decline in this field, I jumped clumsily from that building to the education building. I wanted to be a writing teacher. My intro to ed class was a euphemism for “weeding out” class. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to be a teacher and I praise those who commit. So, when I found out that I just merely wanted to write, I didn’t realize that it was a strong part of me saving another part of me, the little five-year old girl who lost her father. I didn’t chose the major that will make me the most money, or has the best employment rate; I chose the major that saved me.
I sometimes get very anxious and stressed from not knowing what to write. I trip, stumble, bleed and cry, hoping in the process that somehow I will find writer’s enlightenment and create an ongoing pitter-patter on the keyboard. And then I have these moments where I think about my father, and a light switch comes on.
I’m a Creative Writing major now. I hope to be published one day. And I know it will most likely be a piece on my father. I normally don’t include my creative writing pieces but I wanted to share this recent one. Not only because it’s the hero in me saving the victim in me, but because it’s the two of them together, sharing the most real me I have to offer the world.
“10 Things I wish I knew”
1. I wish I knew his smile. The way he laughed. The dry humor everyone tells me I inherited from him.
2. I wish I knew his warmth. How it might feel to be in the space between his arms when they extend and meet. How his heart might sound beating a rhythm on my eardrums.
3. I wish I knew his favorite songs to play on the guitar. How his fingers strummed the chords and moved up and down the frets. How his love for music carried in echoes of lyric and rhyme.
4. I wish I knew his voice. The depth of protection practiced on boyfriends. The softness of compassion practiced after boyfriends.
5. I wish I knew the way he smelled. The cologne he used to attract my mother in their dating years. His natural scent, the kind those you love most seem to only have.
6. I wish I knew what he might want to do with us on his day off. Fishing with my brother and me at sunset. Drinking Budweiser at a Moody Blues Concert while carrying me on his shoulders.
7. I wish I knew what he’d say about my success and failures. Smiling with pride, knowing I am his daughter. Quietly laughing, knowing I am his daughter.
8. I wish I knew the measure of love he had for my mother. What it would have been like if he had been there the years of Valentine’s Days she spent going to bed early. What it would have been like hearing them sneak back to the house afterhours.
9. I wish I knew what his last words were to me. What they sounded like. How he pronounced them. How his rosy cheeks moved to say them. What they were.
10. I wish I knew.