“Daddy.” I’m not so sure when I started saying that word or loving that being who was my dad. His sojourn with me was not the length of a novel or even a short story – more like a 5 stanza poem. He died before I started school at 5. It was not a tragic death, but he went through the veil before I really got to know him. Maybe this relationship with him inspired a love of mystery of poetry, song, and writing within me. I look back wistfully but thankful for the time he touched my life, we had happy moments, all too few.
I was barely able to read my new Golden Books when dad was informed by our family doctor that he had colon cancer. The conversations and experiences we had are more colored with emotions rather than articulate conversations that I can remember, so, my memories of our time together are more like snapshots. I can only mentally reconstruct our few conversations, especially those in the last few months of his life. Are these conversations real or not? I can only say they are stored in my heart where they are clear. The language of my heart being that of feeling and emotion, I believe.
There are several of these snapshots I can see clearly with the lens of my heart, in the silence, in this space between the lines. There is this one picture of him standing in front of the china cabinet in the dining room telling me something about when I would be grown up. It didn’t make sense at all to me, but I just took it in and didn’t raise any questions. I guessed somehow he was just expressing love, and anyways adults did a lot of things difficult to understand and made things I thought silly a little too serious. In addition to being my dad he was also an adult, so I didn’t question. There is another snapshot I recall of him in the hospital bed at Deaconess Hospital in Detroit. He is in a good mood, so I’m feeling hopeful – He will be back home soon. Everything will be okay again. I now see that he was good at covering up his deeper feelings and not expressing them. In that snapshot, he pointed to the dresser top drawer that was to my right, and said, “There’s a present in there for you.” It was a Hershey Bar.
Those are a couple of snapshots and a song from my heart that I share. They have great feeling and meaning to me.
The Song in My Heart
Here is the song in my heart
Here is the song in my soul
Here is a song that can heal
rhap-so-dy now –
– Richard MacKay