When I was younger, much younger, I secretly called him The Giant. He was larger than life, and sometimes he was so large he eclipsed the sun. He cast a shadow through which I saw my life.
Standing in the shadow was fearful, and I avoided his gaze, his disapproval, his genius at finding chores for me to do upon taking notice of me. When I sought his attention, it was in order to shock him.
The way that he tried to relate to his children was to teach them. I resisted. I think I’m the only one of the many who has a tin ear, so I just wasn’t interested in learning guitar. Or really, in spending time with my father. He ruled by fear, and I seethed in resentment.
When he first got sick, I tried to make a connection, for my own sake. I wanted to try. I was rebuffed. And totally got blamed for upsetting him while he was in hospital. I never did get to talk to him then.
Each year, The Giant was diminished, no longer a threatening physical presence, yet the disapproval was pervasive. I just didn’t know what to say to him. We weren’t even close to being on the same wavelength, and I didn’t know how to bridge that gap. I would have liked to do it for me, at least.
Yesterday, after eight years of illness, he breathed his last.
Nobody really believed that The Giant would die.
The waves of sadness and emotion overwhelmed me, but mostly surprised me.
That’s where I am right now.
Processing. Owning my part in it.
This shit isn’t for sissies, is it?