I write these essays about real life experiences that allow tears to bring us more love:
THE LAST WORD
It’s a windy January morning in Boston, my five-year-old granddaughter, Emily warming my lap. She opens up a book on the computer desk and pauses at the photos, as I tell her that I wrote the book. Her amazing dimple appears as she exclaims, “You wrote all those words?” Emily tells me she thinks it is Erin (my oldest daughter) in the middle of the photo of me between my parents at my nursing school graduation. I smile to see the resemblance to myself. There are several photos of my dad’s family whom she has never met and she wants to know who they all are; one is with her mom as a little girl. I tell her that my favorite is the one with me as an infant in my daddy’s arms, the only photo of me being held by him as a child.
Then, Emily finds some cursive passages that dad and I had written to each other, and she wishes me to read them to her. The first is me writing to my dad for Father’s Day 1968: there’s a long list describing “What a Real Father You Are – Dad” poetically and pragmatically, where eventually my tears have the last word while reading out loud:
(I realize more deeply this is true in 2010)
…”a lightening, to the disheartened
a listening ear to any problem;”
by now my tears have become snot down my lip and belly bumps, that Emily calmly and contentedly takes in with listening ears; her back leaning into my chest. There is no separation, or fear. And wonder of wonders, Emily turns the pages and picks out another cursive page, a card my dad wrote to me during my sophomore year of college. She asks me to read: “Dear Di,
just a quick note to let you know: (there are 12 items listed)
1) That I had a wonderful time just being with you.” (My dad’s underlining) Tears return, I am now being with Emily as I was too scared to BE with my dad, as we never shared tears together and I wish we could have.
11) “That I hope you are well and happy.
12) That I love you, Dad.” which dad had not spoken out loud as I do to Emily (and to the rest of my family)
Emily asks, “Can I have this book?” My delight sparkles my wet face with “Of course! I’ll write an inscription for you.” I am so pleased that she wishes to know her great-grandfather despite the lack of blood relation (he adopted me when my mother did not want me, and married my mother to raise me as his first born.)
Emily has been sitting on my lap with the serenity of love I’ve journeyed to know, my dad leading my way. Emily flipping through my 217 pages (she counts them) book TEARS ARE TRUST…waiting to be felt, for more than a half hour, eventually slides off my lap, readying for her noon kindergarten school bus, saying, “I’m going to put my book in my (school) backpack.”