A Father’s Father

Dad

I went to the late Paul Lenzi’s blog site at Avia Tinder’s suggestion and read all of the recent posts listed there. Reading the final words of a man who knew he was dying had an affect on me that I’m still having trouble reconciling. I hurt and feel like I experienced something private, that although freely shared by Paul, I didn’t deserve to to be part of.

My father died of COPD, for lack of a better description, last year on September 9th, and I remember his struggles and fears as his ability to take useful breath diminished daily. He was scared, “imagine drowning” he said. My father was old school smart and intelligent in ways that school couldn’t teach. he worked with his hands until he couldn’t, and even as he faded, I could see his work bench by how he arranged the paraphernalia of his last days on the kitchen table, though no-one else could. He would become frustrated and angry when anyone tried to rearrange his space. Unless you had worked with him and understood the pattern, you would think he was making a cluttered mess of things. I saw it, I was fortunate to have been able to work with and learn from him. When I explained, they stopped trying to organize his space, even though it was a clutter. It mirrored his work bench. I once made the mistake of trying to organize his work bench in the garage one time and he wasn’t happy. He knew where every tool and scrap piece of metal, wood, sandpaper, you name it, was until I ‘helped out’. I don’t think he ever found some of the things that I’d moved. He was independent, knew how every thing mechanical worked and why, literally, and could fix any piece of machinery, big or small, with the tools he owned. I watched him make tools when he didn’t have just the right on close at hand. He was gifted with the intuitive understanding of how things worked, and as good as I am along the same vein, I looked like the village idiot compared to him.

Too late in my life did I rekindle my relationship with my father. We didn’t have a falling out, I went a different direction and we kept to ourselves. My family is not especially close, we love each other fiercely, but we don’t seek each other out frequently, even though my two siblings and live I within 20 minutes of each other. Our parents divorced when we aged about 8, 10, and 12, and that had profound and different effects on each of us, shaping and influencing us to this day. The birth of my daughter helped bring my father and I back together. I can only imagine how my life would have evolved if things had been different when I was a child. I hope that I have been a better father to my daughter than I was a son to my father.

I didn’t intend to write this tonight or probably ever. I have done what the men in my family have always done and buried my feelings, swallowing the words and letting the emotions cool to ash. Sometimes a breath of air stirs the ash and fans an ember to flame. I miss my father and all the lost possibilities that may have been. I don’t blame, if there is any, it’s mine to bear now, both my parents are gone. Both of their obituaries were written by my hand and seemed so inadequate as a testament to their lives, but how can you give fair treatment in 300 words or less.

Too Late

My only regret;
I was never satisfied
When I should have been

Why did it take me so long
To learn to appreciate

I met Avia Tinder through her blog site, The Friday Sparrow, a few days ago and she recommended that I visit Paul Lenzi’s site and read his poetry, now, so do I.

Please go to Avia’s site, https://thefridaysparrow.wordpress.com/

and to the Paul Lenzi site, https://poesypluspolemics.com/2018/07/07/mortality/

I’m done now.

15 thoughts on “A Father’s Father

  1. Oh my, Tim-Bro, this is beautifully heartfelt, guaranteed to turn on the waterworks. “Family”, the word is synonymous with “complicated”, no? I really love your poem at the end…sums it up so succinctly. When my embers are fanned, and I go through the gamut of emotions–hurt, angry, disappointed…and ultimately regret…I weep anew, wishing I could go back in time and “be different”, as then maybe my parents would have been too.

    I despise Hallmark movies…all the stories have happy endings full of love and reconciliation–as though every family with “issues” should or could have that too, if they just knew the trick. As a devout Bible Christian, I’ve learned that even if you do the “right” thing, there’s absolutely no guarantee that the results will be “Hallmark-y”. Sometimes you have to just let it all go, don’t look back (lest you turn to a pillar of salt)…because well-intended efforts can bring heartbreak, just the same–the pillar of salt made of one’s own tears.

    Sorry to go on and on… Thanks much for mentioning and linking to me, that’s very thoughtful, Bro. Catch you later 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darn near did, nose got a little runny. We can’t bring them back, though we sometimes wish we could, probably better that way, Don’t like Hallmark either, but my wife does. I haven’t declared for any team but I listen to what’s said, I just have a different view. It is nice to know that my back is had by so many and I return the favor.
    Thank you for the recommendation and the breeze it brought to the hearth.

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  3. Relationships between fathers and sons could fill a library. I can tell you have fond memories from the way you write about him. My mother died of COPD at ninety. She was in a nursing home, woke up in the morning and had breakfast as normal and when the nurses went to wake her for lunch she had passed away.

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  4. Reading this a 2nd time, I’m not sure exactly what the reference is…but if it has to do with me sharing my faith in a comment, it would be prudent for you to let me know now–if it’s offensive to you. I don’t push my beliefs on anyone, but part of being “genuine authentic” means I can share what I hope conveys encouragement to people–from my Christian faith experience & perspective. So please give me a heads-up if you don’t want me sharing it in your blog space/comment box. No need to get started on the wrong foot, nor compromise my priorities. Be well. I’ve quoted from your comment here, to refresh your memory 🙂

    “I haven’t declared for any team but I listen to what’s said, I just have a different view. It is nice to know that my back is had by so many and I return the favor.”

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  5. I take no offense and I’m sorry if you felt that I did. One of the pitfalls in communicating with brevity is that I can sometimes neglect to give proper context to what I say and mean, that is a reason why I’ve not participated in twitter and other social media forums. I know that you have a strong faith and that you share your faith in your posts and comments. Please be genuine authentic at all times. I appreciate that you consider me your friend and convey your friendship and encouragement with your faith. I value your friendship and trust and I’m sorry if I shook it. What I meant is that while I am not actively practicing any faith, I appreciate the messages and see so many similarities between them, the inherent goodness of them and how they enrich the lives of those who do. I experience spirituality when I see and ponder the magnificence of nature, the night sky, the patterns in the frost that forms on my windows, the science that explains while also opening new doors that cannot be explained by that science. I believe that all reverence and faith is essentially the same whether it is written in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese, or English. I don’t want you to compromise you’re priorities or start off on the wrong foot with you. I know you have my back and it makes me feel secure, not pressured. Please know that I have your back too, and don’t ever be afraid of offending me with your blessings, I probably need them more than I know. I pains me to think that I offended or upset you. You are truly a kind and thoughtful person. Thank you Sister.

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  6. Ohhh Tim-Bro–I realize the perils of Comment Boxes, believe me! And I wasn’t upset–I just want to keep clear communication…so because I’m your adopted Big-sister (older and wiser, hah!), I felt a responsibility to check with you, and not just assume I’d offended. The bane of my 67 years has been dealing with people who don’t have the courage to speak the truth in love (yep, that’s in the Bible). I’d like to take out a billboard that says, “It is NOT kind, loving, saintly to be wishy-washy or tell folks what you think they want to hear, instead of what you honestly feel/think”. It’s just beyond frustrating…which explains to a degree why I am Alone. People expect others to read their minds–hello?! I wasn’t born with that gift!

    So I’ll stop ranting now–and thank you sincerely for your response, Bro–we are FINE 🙂 ❤ I appreciate that you are a good communicator, more than I can say! 🙂 It's so refreshing! Have a blessed weekend…I will be typing all night, racing like a thoroughbred to the 50,001 mark 🙂

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  7. I miss Paul – he certainly inspired many of us here. Your story of your father echoes many father/child relationships I should imagine. Distance between family members, whether physically or emotionally certainly describes my family of origin. Awareness and acknowledgment helps us change the dynamic going forward. Honest post.

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  8. Tim, this is an incredibly touching and heartfelt post. Sometimes it takes a lifetime or something to happen to pull everything into perspective. It’s so difficult to appreciate what we have when we have it, it’s the human condition. But what you have written about your father and your family, is beautiful, a wonderful tribute.

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