Dad’s Notebook. Dated from 2002 , from deep in my drawer as I’m looking for my favorite pens..
One of my special pens I’d buried all over the house. Open a drawer, you’d find one. Close a door, one would fall out. I’ve been dry for months, though, no pen in sight, happy enough to just get something down in any chance moment. The writing instrument just hasn’t mattered lately.
When you want to write, you’ll write..
Anyway — opted for hubby’s I found in his bedside drawer as I hunted for said pens.
I’m a thief. I’ll ask for forgiveness later..
Opened my own desk drawer, pulled out a nest of random notes — buried underneath was Dad’s prayer book in a composition notebook.
I know I’ve written a lot about my Dad.
We had a complex relationship. He was a burden on our marriage, never allowed us to delight much in him, but I knew he loved us in his odd way — just as he knew we loved him.
Through it all, before we lost him to Alzheimer’s, I needed that tether during that period of my of my life. I know I rationalized loving my Dad, even though he was mean… and ugly.. and not nice .. and was suspicious of what-have-you (made up plenty of stories.. boy! what a storyteller!), but I’m thankful I had the sense not to push him on my family. We simply, very quietly, withdrew from his life .. with those occasional surprise re-emergings to catch him off guard.
Now, I just cherish.
Several years ago, when Dad’s memory finally kept him from communicating, Mom gave me his Notebook.
It had Dad’s prayer list in it. Ever person he fought, combated, and cursed — my mother, my sister, my husband, my brother — he had an ongoing prayer in there for them.
I want to believe he felt regret, and that maybe this was a way to find amends. For himself, at least. His way of reaching out into the empty he forged, to pray privately for the people he was angry at, the people he believed had abandoned him — like the abandonment he must have felt most his life after his own father died when he was 2. Maybe to find relief from the grief he created in his own life.
I know his prayers were sincere because he never lorded his prayers over us. Never bragged if he perceived his prayers were fulfilled like some “religious” people I know, never ingratiated himself on us because of the private time he spent thinking silently about us. He ingratiated himself on us for everything under the moon, beneath bridges and across vast distances, for everything else.. He told us so.
But not those prayers.
Those prayers. . I never knew they existed. Had I known he prayed for us at the time, maybe things could have been different.
But he never said.
He never told us.
I’m left with his Notebook .. and I wonder.
I’m comforted to know he had a private Notebook he retreated to, too.
It’s nice knowing I have something in common with my Dad.
It’s nice knowing through this post — this very moment — I’ve come to define what ailed my Dad for my whole life I knew him: his issue of Abandonment.
Wow. Even now, I’m still getting to know my Dad. Through his Notebook. Something he left behind for me to hear part of his voice.
The silent one.