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Thursday, September 8, 2011

16 Years

In my family there is a guarded feeling of not being over dramatic or panicked. I grew up with it, as I was taught that we keep secrets and put our best looking self forward. As a child my real honesty was cut down and truly alarmed my parents. I was the odd duck out when talking about what I saw, what I heard and what I thought. My parents had decided I was an exaggerating child, (Then I was a overly dramatic adult)They use to tell everyone right in front of me as I grew up how I liked to tell stories, how I made up what I had just said. Especially if I just made them look bad....... I did however learn to be clever, learn to hold my tongue. Now my father did nice things for us kids, it wasn't always dramatic. He took us to fly kites, play basketball, view airplane shows or just walk the greenbelt. I remember ALL of these events very clearly, because if our father was happy chances were the rest of us was happy too! It also changed as suddenly as the wind for unhappiness to take I was wondering to myself while drinking my coffee in those little white Styrofoam cups listening to my sister vent in the ICU eating room the other day, When did all those events as we were little change? When did he stop doing father like things with us? When did he just stop completely even BEING a father?!? What can happen to a person in their life to dramatically change them?...or maybe the real question is did he even WANT to be a dad?   I sat drinking my coffee asking these kinds of questions to myself. My sister was talking to me but since Dad had just sent us out of our mother's room. I wondered about him. My sister Dana was fired up in not knowing what was going on in ICU with our mother. I understood that our father would want to keep mom's information to himself, not wanting very many people around him or have her situation flared into a gossip chain. So I drank my coffee wondering when did my family stop being a family? 
Dana was speaking as I came back from my thoughts..she handed me a napkin with her long slender fingers, her deep dark eyes were wide in her excitement to talk to me. I saw her very slim figure bend over the chair across from me. She was pulling her long straight blondish tinted hair back into a pony tail again with a gush of energy, with her strong voice saying  "Now I know that I am type "A" person, I am not afraid to tell him either...." my father was a common topic for my sister and I during these stressful hospital days. Mother's stroke had shook the whole family up side down. I smiled at my sister no room to really reply she was fired up!  YET I loved that morning time with just the 2 of us together talking/listening to each other I finally wondered out loud "Am I a type "A" person too?" I asked her as she snorted loudly as if I made a joke, then I smiled again. "Hell No! and you are defiantly NOT a type "B" person either, you don't just do what you are told! I read in class what you were, it was SOooo exactly YOU but I can't remember now.......anyway what I'm sayin' is I know how I am and I will tell you to your face what I if Dad keeps pushing me away or keeping me out of the loop! I am gonna get REALLY mad!" I nodded in understanding at my sister as she refilled her coffee cup mumbling that she had picked a bad time to quite smoking and I giggled. Then Dana's face soften as she shared slowly "Ya know yesterday when Dad told me he loved me I realized it has been 16 years since the last time he said that to me." She was silent looking down into her coffee cup standing by the counter. She was suddenly still, no arms waving, no long loud sentences, no crazy faces like she had just been making. She was sadden by this realization and also happy to realize her father does love her after all!  I watched, I nodded strongly, I didn't move. I didn't say a thing because I was both deeply sadden that she has counted 16 years......and mad at my father for waiting so long to let her know that she is loved! Everything makes sense when you realize there wasn't any love spoken about in a long while. I made up my mind at that moment for it was time I said "I LOVE YOU" every day to everyone no matter the awkward looks or rolling eyes I got in reply! Love can win in this story of our lives, in this family of mine.  So I watched this change overcome my sister, then our eyes met full of silent tears. we didn't speak but understood each other perfectly. She jumped up to go for a walk suddenly without even a glance back at me. I watched her go still holding my cooling coffee. I wondered what kind of pain do we all carry? What kind of fear do we all have? Why is it hard to share an unconditional love or even trust? For I knew as I sat there alone thinking that this is all a LIFE TIME of pain surfacing up from the raw reality of my mother's stroke, of her possible death and of my hurting family. Perhaps the next 16 years will be true love?.....Perhaps.....

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