How do you move forward when backward is all you have? I’ve been thinking about that a lot since my Dad died. As days go by it becomes more evident that I can no longer look forward to seeing him. I can’t look forward to him seeing my daughter grow. I can’t look forward to his long political debates or him telling me how the world would be better if everyone thought like him.
I can only look backward to memories of a time gone by. I can laugh and cry about things that were and only speculate on what could have been. Until that day we put his body in the ground my earthly relationship with my Dad was part of my forever and always. He was here before I was and I never knew a world where he didn’t exist.
Now I have entered a new world–a world where my father and I are One. In this world he lives within me and I can only believe that in his new home I live within him. Sound familiar? It is amazing that in my father’s passing, I have come to feel him even more. Like in a dream where all your defenses are down, I see more of my Dad’s intentions for his place in the world. No longer burdened by regret of the past or the calculations and projections that we make about our uncertain futures, my Dad’s spirit speaks to me without reservations.
No, I don’t hear his voice or see him walking around like in a Hollywood movie. In fact I haven’t even seen his image in a dream since the day before the funeral. In my dreams I only hear people talking about him in some peripheral way. Instead, his spirit speaks to me through me. In my own voice I hear his words as I describe him to people who never knew him. In my emotions I feel him as grief takes me to places I’ve never been before and forces me to reevaluate where I’ve come from with eyes that now discern rather than discriminate.
Through this experience I am learning more about what it means to be human–that subtle mixture of doubter and Divine. What’s more, I realize that moving forward is more inspirational than directional. In other words, moving forward does not have to mean moving away from my Dad and our relationship, but rather moving toward the person I have become as a result of the relationship’s influence.