I am my mother and my father. Today I tried to remember that part of me that is from my father. His spirit calmed me and guided me to a place where I could feel loved. He was so handsome and quiet, loving my mother and yet remembering who he was away from her too. My favorite memory is of me sitting on his lap while he drew picture stories of stick people who came onto the page and cut down little trees to build bridges over rivers and eventually little towns.
My mother dressed him in leisure suits and cut his toast into nine tiny squares each morning. She babied him just like she did her boyfriend after he died. He adored her for her beauty and was happy to go along with what she believed. She thought that he needed her guidance and control. When he had dementia at the end she mothered him until he died.
His green bedroom eyes and dark brows were intense. I look more like him than my mom with her sharp features and painted on eyebrows. My mom said he was moody. He would pull away from us when she was at her worst and retire to the den. When he came back from the war he would wake up at night and move the furniture around so big ships could pass through. I remember him waking up yelling. He had built bridges for the troops and then turned around and blew them up. He was a SeaBee.
Once he threw out all the food in the house. He was tired of me over eating and my mom was back at her childhood home dealing with her sick father. He very quietly put all the food, even the spices, in the trash can. I guess he thought that would be the end of my bingeing and purging. He was wrong. He was moody and quiet but I forgave him all that. He did lots of things to make my mother happy but she was never really satisfied with either of us.
He was a civil engineer and we would mix cement and pour concrete in the backyard to make patios, steps and flower beds. He loved to build. We brought him up to our house as we were building it in Alaska but his dementia was kicking in and he couldn't help. I wish he was still here helping me but he has been gone over ten years now.
My mother got a new boyfriend after he died. All the old men were lined up trying to date her but this one had five hundred dollars in his pocket when they went to dinner. They were together for about four hellish years. The first year was so fun as she said she had the time and he had the money but then he had a stroke and lost his short term memory. I think she liked this fellow more than my introspective dad.
As I take care of my mom in her 93rd year we both think of dad in our times of need and sorrow. I once asked her who she wanted to see when she died, her boyfriend or my Dad. She didn't like that question. I really think this life has a spiritual side and that there is more going on here than we can see. My dad's spirit comforted me today as never before and I appreciated that. Maybe it is just his memory that gives me peace but whatever it is I count it as very real and a blessing to carry him around with me as I go about my day trying to figure out who I am and what I hold dear.