"Write through the heart
or you're to blame
for giving writers
a bad name."
Admit it, you just read that while the Bon Jovi tune played in your mind, right?
I read a fantastic post by Bryan Hutchinson this morning called "I'm A Writer But I Feel Like Such A Fake Asshole" and in it, he really held nothing back as he talked about speaking from the heart in one's own writing. then the challenge was issued:
Here’s your challenge, write something that has sincere meaning to you, something that terrifies you to write openly about and then publish it on your blog for the world to read.
I thought about this all day. Who doesn't have a thought they're terrified to write openly about? Whether it's related to family, friends, self, our job or our future...everybody can relate to that inner fear, that worry that we can't seem to shake in the wee small hours of the morning.
My Grammie suffered from Alzheimer's for years before passing. The last time I saw her, she thought I was pregnant and that I was my cousin. She uged me to think of naming the baby Ralph, after my grandfather.
I was so relieved to have a lucid dream months later of meeting her back in her old house and having one last visit with her before hugging her and telling her goodbye. I got the call a week later that she had passed. I knew before the words were spoken that the news was of her death. She'd told me as such a week prior.
That's not what terrifies me. What I worry about is if my father will suffer the same fate as her. Will I lose him as I lost her?
Will he forget me?
Two of my oldest friends lost their fathers years ago. Two more really good friends have lost their fathers both within the last five years. Others don't have relationships with their fathers due to divorce. But I get to talk to my dad every night before bed to share stories and jokes, to hear how he's feeling and how his workday went.
I get hesitant to share those great moments with my friends because I don't want them to feel bad. I'm sure they miss their fathers and I don't want it to seem like I'm rubbing it in their face. But they ARE great moments that I deeply treasure.
Courtesy of Google maps
Who else has a dad that can be seen every day on Google Maps? When he mentioned that he'd seen the Google van drive by, I checked the website every day until the photos were uploaded. It was awesome to know that everyone worldwide could see a snapshot of him like this. He's the one wearing a hat.
He's out in front of his company, E. L. Heard & Son Co, talking with a shorter gentleman who is fueling his van. My dad's worked there for 38 years, ever since I was born. That's his blue Toyota on the left and his semi next to it. He hauls fuel and heating oil and propane to customers and retailers in the area. It's not glamorous, but it's important work and he does it well. You'll never find a better group of hard-working honest people, than those he works with.
That's how I always want to see him - happy and working and doing good to help people. And I never crow about it enough. And I feel that life is going so fast that someday, I'll turn around and he'll be gone. I won't be able to call him and talk politics or sing Johnny Cash lyrics to him or toss our private jokes around. (Only he knows why we prounounce pedestal 'Ped EST al' by putting the 'emp HAS is' on the wrong 'Sy LAB ble' for instance.)
Tears flow as I type this because my heart bursts with love talking about him. I don't ever want to try to get along without him. I don't know how my friends do it. I try to be so careful of their situations because I can only imagine how it must hurt to not have their dad anymore.
How lucky I am.
How I want my son to feel that for his father, the same way I feel that love for mine. it's such a precious thing. He's always so strong in a quiet way and always has a hug that is unconditional. He helped foster the tomboy in me just as my mother helped foster the creative in me. I see bits of my grandfather in him.
I hope he sees bits of him in me.
There is a bit of him in every broken thing I try to fix. There is a bit of him in every little animal I try to help. There's a bit of him in every laugh. Gosh, just writing that makes me want to hug him and I just saw him yesterday when he came to spend the afternoon playing outside with my son!
I hope you take a moment today to get a hold of your dad (or grandfather, uncle, mentor, whomever) and just say hi, ask about his day, reach out somehow. He won't be here forever. But the memories of time you spent together CAN. It's taken me several days to write this out through the emotions of putting this into words, but I hope it's brought you a moment of reflection.
Are YOU a dad to someone? Or just a father figure? Then from the bottom of my little kid heart, thank you.
Thanks for showing me your smile.
Thanks for making me laugh.
Thank you for helping me up when I fell (even after you told me to be careful).
Thank you for making me a snack right after I didn't want to eat dinner, especially a homemade dinner you cooked.
Thank you for all the little things you did that nobody ever patted you on the back for.
I was too little to articulate how much all those little things meant to me. But they meant the WORLD to me. That you would think that much of me to make me feel like the most important person in your world gave me such hope and happiness. Even if all I could do was wrap dirty sticky hands and arms around your pantleg or wipe my nose on your shoulder in thanks, I hope you could understand the comfort you gave.
I wish every little kid in the world could know that feeling.
And if you ever DO forget, dad, I'll be there to remember for you.
I love you.