zondag 6 juli 2014

I miss you already. I miss you always.

Seven years already... I believe this is the first time I have really written something about my father dying. I never seemed to be able to so before. It's still difficult though, and I keep feeling like eloquence is slipping through my fingers. Then again, that doesn't really seem to matter. Anyway, here's a little reminiscing and musing. 

(…) Through the larger than life windows, behind the stage from which the eulogies were delivered, I could make out the large pond that lay behind the cremation center. The water was perfectly still, mirroring the green and blue of the trees and the skies in accurate fashion. 

As above, so below... 

A flock of swans suddenly drifted into my vision, floating silently on the surface, in the interstice between reality and its reflection. I listened to the music being played, which my family and I had chosen. My father didn’t really want to pick any music himself. Or couldn’t. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he found it too hard to think about stuff like that in advance, preferring instead to be oblivious of the inevitable. He had eventually chosen one song though, which would be played last, at the end of the ceremony. 

Now it was first my time to step up and take to the stage. To utter words I couldn’t write myself, even though I’ve always considered myself a writer. That time I really was at a loss for words though, being unable to put emotion (any emotion, those emotions) into writing. Even listening to music accompanied by words felt wrong at the time, or rather it was just impossible for me to listen to. All I could listen to was the instrumental music of 65daysofstatic, for weeks on end. I was glad my sister stepped up that time and had written something about our father for the ceremony. She couldn’t get herself to read it out aloud in front of everyone though, in front of the whole family. So I was happy to do that, feeling like I could at least add something to the ceremony that way, to give something to my father that way. 

At first it wasn’t that hard, reading aloud those lines, because they told about loving, caring and funny moments we had all shared with my dad. I felt a calm serenity take hold of me, carrying me through this, although I had to focus on the piece of paper carrying my sister's words, and had to avoid too much eye contact with my mom, brother and sister. At the end of the speech things suddenly started to get slippery, and I felt myself drifting away for a moment. I then had to collect all my strength to keep myself together, not only to keep my composure, but to prevent myself from collapsing within myself. Those last lines were so hard to read, but I felt such a strong urge to say them. I had to say them. It took me a full minute to say the last few words. “Vaders, we zullen je missen.” 

I don't remember walking off the stage, taking my seat. All I remember from those moments after, was staring through the windows again, those larger than life windows. Seeing the by then empty pond, with the swans having moved out of sight, while listening to the one song my dad really wanted to be played at his memorial ceremony. And while Mathilde Santing’s version of ‘Wonderful Life’ was playing, suddenly the flock of swans came into my vision again. At first quietly floating by, but then suddenly the whole flock of swans took off into the air, flying in a spectacular circle over the pond and then disappearing into the sky. It was a moment of pure yet sad beauty. And at that moment I felt something shift and click within me, and I realised something had changed, that I would never be the same person again. A profound sadness had settled into my soul, one that would never leave me.

It took me almost two years to come to terms with that sadness, and take the metamorphosis to its ultimate conclusion. Only then I realised that it was a sadness birthed in love, allowing me to open up my being like never before. One that gave my heart the ability to weave the fabric of life into my soul.

I can now say, with full understanding, that all these encounters with Life Herself, in all their intricate ways, are what makes this all so worthwhile. And now the silly cheesiness of that song ‘Wonderful Life’ suddenly somehow rings true, I can only smilingly admit while quietly shaking my head.

I feel like I have found a friend in that profound sadness. One that does not feel heavy like a cornerstone, but one that functions as a starting point from which I can embark on empathetic journeys. I have found a friend in the memory of my dad. I have found a friend within myself. I have found a friend in my outlook on life. And of course, I have a friend in all of you, my friends, my dear friends.

And now, when I look into the mirror, I pound my fist against my heart, and with the ferocity of Norma Jean’s delivery, I feel this simple but most wonderful realisation: yes, I choose to embrace Life. And I am intend on living it. That’s the legacy my father left within me, and for that I will always be so grateful to that wonderful man. 

Thank you, vaders.

“I miss you already
I miss you always”

But in a good way, because yes, you do make me smile.

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