I’m having a hard time cutting out my Dad’s obituary from the paper. The whole page is sitting on my side table in the kitchen. His face looking sweetly out of the photo my sister took from years ago. I look at that face and smile his smile and tears well up in my eyes and a lump forms in my throat. I just can’t take the scissors and physically cut it out of the page.
I remember when I was in high school, I was leaving the house one morning, rushing out to the car. I had an arm full of books (no one cool carried a backpack) so I was using my back and elbow to unlatch the screen door. As I opened the door, I turned to walk out and came face to face with a praying mantis. I screamed to high heaven and jumped back into the house. My Dad came running to see what was happening.
I was always the anxious child. Worried about everything and everyone on the planet. I wrote a letter to President Carter asking him to stop the killing of baby Harp seals. I would cry and get angry when I would see any injustice. Whether that injustice was against humans, animals, trees, or the planet.
My dad saw this in me and was the first to call me out on it. Now as an adult, I often go back to that moment and smile. His comment on my behavior was my first look into how I navigated in the world that I can remember. It was certainly one of those moments that has stuck with me and that I refer to now as an ah-a moment.
I started on my intentional path to inner peace when I was in my late twenties. I was getting divorced and lost my full-time job. Working three part-time jobs and living back with my mom (she and my dad split when I turned 18), I needed something in my life to balance me. I started questioning everything. My journey thus far has led me to Arizona, Israel/Palestine, Australia, Colorado, Mexico, Oregon, California, Florida, and Washington DC and all around the Northeast of the US. Fantastic stories of healing, of being emotionally and spiritually ripped open, in order for the pain and anxiety to leave and the love that was lying beneath could expand and take over.
Now here I am looking at my Dad’s obituary. And I’m questioning why again. Why can’t I cut this out? Is it the last and final physical act I will do with my father? No more hugs, no more kisses, no more dances, no more wrestling during commercials, no more teasing and hearing his laughter, hearing his voice say “hey sweetie” when I call on the phone.
This is it, the reason. I can tell because the tears are streaming and the tissues are piling up.
I can take a deep breath now. The reason is uncovered and I can sit within that truth. No more earth-bound connection with him after the cutting of the obituary. Once I sit within this and flush it all out, I’ll be able to cut it out with love and gratitude in my heart. But today is not that day. And that’s okay with me.