Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saying Good-Bye to my Dad, Part 1

Once upon a time there was a music teacher who had three sons. He loved his sons very much but didn't show it in the way that you or I might show love. He showed love by pouring music into his sons' lives and encouraging them to practice more. He didn't mean to be so strict (or maybe he did) but all the same, he really did love his sons.

Each of these sons grew up to be musicians, just as the father had hoped. The oldest son grew up to play French Horn, the second son the euphonium and baritone, and the youngest son played clarinet and saxophone. They played in different orchestras and symphonies all over the country.

The eldest son, who was by now married and had three small children of his own, was the most brilliant musician among the three sons (though they were all very, very good). If he had stuck with music there's no telling what he could have done - what orchestras he could have played in or what great teachers he could have studied under. But he was in a motorbike accident one day that left him unable to walk or talk or do much of anything for himself. And he stayed like this for 34 years.

His children grew up, got married and had children of their own, but the questions they had from childhood they carried with them into adulthood. The youngest child - a girl - especially wondered many things. "If only I had gotten to hear him play French Horn," she thought. For you see, she had inherited his gift of music and wanted to discuss many things with her father.

She was a stoic girl, however, and didn't often talk about her father. Even as a child she never allowed herself to grieve the loss, for how can you grieve the loss of someone who's still alive?

This daughter, who also had three children, moved to Africa one day to do a work that she and her husband felt to be significant. One day she got news that her father was dying, but because of the distance and immigration laws, she could not fly home to say good-bye to her father. And so she waited, half a world away.

Now waiting can do funny things to a person, especially a person who has been waiting for 34 years. All of the losses began to pile up - one on top of the other - and she began to cry.


The Feys said...

Oh Annie, I found this so hauntingly beautiful. You have such a gift with words. Praying for you as you are so far away at this time. Thank you for sharing about your father.

Anonymous said...

Weeping, Paco.

What The Feys said is something I've always known to be true since you "got me through" Fresno State with your letters...You are truly gifted with words and I just ask God to comfort you with his big huge arms and His big huge heart!

Love ya!


Ruby said...

Annie, I loved this post. My dad has some records of your dad playing and has digitized them. I don't know if he's shared them with you. I'm so sad you can't visit right now. I was able to say hi to Eddie on the phone yesterday, but he didn't like the cell phone. I think my favorite memory of your dad was when we all gathered for Thanksgiving in '93, and he had his computer to help him communicate. He informed us all that "Country music is the devil's revenge on all true music lovers." Know that we're sending you all love from all over.

Annie said...

Thanks, you guys. You're making me cry again.

Pedro - it was your faith that got you through Fresno State - and you have no idea how that got ME through a difficult time in my own life. Thanks. :)

Michelle - I had totally forgotten that comment. He may just be right... :)

Chessalee said...

I am sorry to read about your loss! This is a great loss. I hope you find comfort in Him. My thoughts and prayers are with you. My husband lost his brother a month ago [farm murder in SA], so I sort of share with you some lost and feelings,although a dad is different than brother-in-law. I agree, you have a gift of writing.