My Father  

wasjustkimmie 57F
4 posts
2/12/2006 7:45 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

My Father

My father’s eyes were brilliant blue…almost turquoise. He won a baby contest when he was only a few weeks old by virtue of the fact that he had the most beautiful blue eyes. His eyes sparkled when he smiled but their depths reflected the heartbreak and tragedy of a difficult life.

My father was born into a poor family. He was very bright but was denied the opportunity of an education. He quit school when he was thirteen and went to work to help support his family. He grew up fast. He drank, he smoked, he got tattooed…all while he was still a child. My grandmother was a “t-totaller” and didn’t approve of her son’s lifestyle. The family struggled. There often wasn’t enough to eat. My grandmother gave a large portion of what little they had to the church. My father resented this greatly. The battle lines were clearly drawn.

When war was declared in 1939 my father was one of the first to enlist. The army meant a steady job and regular meals…and an opportunity to get away from his mother. He served in England and Holland for the duration of the war…remaining for almost a year after the war was over to assist with the clean-up. He killed. He witnessed the deaths of many people he was close to. While he was overseas, his sister May got pregnant. She was only nineteen years old and she wasn’t married. My grandmother arranged for an abortion…illegal at the time. There were complications and May died. This was the last straw for my father and he never spoke to his mother again.

It was this period in my father’s life…the first thirty years…that influenced the rest of his days. He could never free himself from the oppressive hatred and bitterness. My father became highly opinionated and judgmental. He showed little if any affection. When I was growing up there were rules for everything. There were rules for how you dressed, how you ate, what you ate…there were even rules for how you walked up and down the stairs. My actions were highly criticized and praise was extremely rare. I became an over-achiever trying to win my father’s approval. I was a straight A student and won many academic awards…but my father was never there to witness my triumphs. He told me he was waiting for the “big one”. He promised he would go to my university graduation…and he would dance at my wedding. My father died one year before I finished university and seven years before I got married.

I don’t remember my father ever hugging me or kissing me. He never told me he was proud of me. He never told me that he loved me. And yet, I know for certain that he did love me…he loved me very much. It was in his eyes…those brilliant blue pools that reflected his soul. In his eyes I saw his pain…I saw the tragedy that he couldn’t let go of…that influenced the rest of his life…and I saw his love.

The summer that my father died I was in university. I was a co-op student and had to go to school for the summer term. My father had suffered a stroke in June and had been in and out of the hospital all summer long. He hated being in the hospital. He knew he was dying and he wanted to die at home. He was too difficult for my mother to handle on her own and I was away at school. The night he died the nurses had caught him trying to “escape”. He had taken his radio and wrapped the cord neatly around it. He disconnected his IV and with his radio tucked under his arm headed down the hall towards the exit. It wasn’t the first time the nurses had caught him trying to run away. It was a busy night and they didn’t have time to watch him constantly so they sat him down in a chair and put restraints on him to keep him there. He was angry. He told them his daughter would come and get him and take him home. Those were his final words. He died before I could get there. I let him down. I would never see his brilliant blue eyes again.

My father’s eyes were unique. No one else had eyes like his…or so I thought. Just recently I saw those brilliant blue eyes once again…this time smiling at me from the face of a stranger. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how in an instant we can be transported to a place in the past and flooded with thoughts long-buried. Were they my father’s eyes smiling at me…offering me a second chance? Was he reminding me just how much we are all connected? Time will tell.

rm_PurryKitty2 48M/49F
9753 posts
2/12/2006 9:15 am

Awww this is touching

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campfirecozy 66M

2/12/2006 9:50 am

Sweet story, DearKitty

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