A Soul Ache

Dear dad,

You couldn’t hug me; you couldn’t hug mom or Adam. You couldn’t wrap your arms around us to make us feel safe or give any sort of touch to comfort us. Not only can I not remember the last thing I said to you or you said to me, but I also can’t remember the last time you hugged me. I long for it- the embrace of a father, the arms of love pulling me close and enveloping me completely for just a moment in pure peace and comfort. An embrace that makes me feel like a little girl again, like nothing else matters besides that moment with you, like no matter what happens I can come back to this. But now I can’t, and it wounds me little by little. How badly did it hurt you? That you couldn’t hug your family, couldn’t give your daughter a high-five after a soccer game, couldn’t give your son a pat-on-the-back or a shoulder-squeeze to lift him up after a tough loss, couldn’t brush your hand along the cheek of your beautiful wife, a soft caress to let her know just how much you love her, or even throw a ball to the dog you claimed not to like (though we all know it wasn’t true). Did not being able to do these things wound you bit by bit each day? It never even crossed my mind when I was with you. I feared asking or talking at all about your struggles with the disease. I didn’t want to accept they were real, didn’t want to admit that you really couldn’t do the things you couldn’t do. I wanted you to conquer it, to not let it beat you. I thought you didn’t fight back enough, were being soft. I was wrong. And I am so sorry I put you through that time and time again- making you feel ashamed of the things you couldn’t do, of asking for help. I made you feel like a burden on me because from the darkest abyss of my soul crept the idea that it would be better if you weren’t here, and it manifested itself in my actions toward you. I am sick writing this, etching it into existence with paper and ink. “Wretched man that I am!” It blinded me from seeing the truth- the truth that asking for help isn’t weakness, the truth that we are all utterly helpless and weak in the face of the giants of life, in the face of the evils within us. I forgot that we aren’t the ones called to do the conquering but rather the asking for help. Please forgive me.

Love,

Lauren

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