june 28th

there is a place i most never go
a place where heart beats quick and slow
where tears fall easy and memories go
a place in time i'll always know

tomorrow is my father's birthday. he would have been 49. i've given explanation after explanation this week as to why i've been so out of it and emotional but the plain hard core fact of the matter is there's no escaping the 28th. 364 days of the year i can talk about the man casually, ease a stranger's discomfort once they've learned he's passed but no matter how hard i try...no matter that it's been 18 years...the tears always seem to find me...the memories of the day i found out always come back fresh and new; a little girl curled up in a ball leaning against her bedroom door...trying to keep her world from falling down around her...it's as if it was yesterday.

i don't believe i've ever discussed my feelings about my dad in quite this way. i don't know if i've ever had the words to describe what it's like to lose a dad.

i live in two worlds...reality and the mythic one where some family tell me stories of the great man that once upon a time lived and others act like he never existed at all (a ghost story to amuse the little one)

...somehow i've managed to keep the two worlds from meeting; never really placing my dad in reality. he's remained so personally cerebral and publicly foreign...sometimes i feel like nothing's real because i lost him. there's just something unnatural about telling stories about someone as important as a father and never being able to back it all up with an actual person. in college i became fascinated with stories of creationism; fatherless folks existing in the world, products of the stars in the sky and so on and so on. i could relate to that sort of magical beginning.

the older i get the more introspective and rational i become though. my dad--the stories that keep him alive in me and for me --don't enjoy staying in a nice neat area of my heart anymore.

there's a reason i test men to see if they're capable of withstanding the hard times...why i'm scared to think someone else could leave...why i cry in movies featuring dads and daughters, why the idea of a wedding hurts me and why i have such a hard time keeping the tears at bay at night, most especially the nights surrounding the day of his birth. i think about him all the time. i never tell people this. i have one picture of him, a tiny ceramic bunny and a handful of memories i've made mountains of stories out of.

i can't usually write about him so please forgive this huge chunk of writing i have going on. something about this time just unleashed something in me i had to write. for a manic moment i felt like if i just kept writing something would happen and i'd finally feel like i'd filled the hole. one last attempt at making the weird empty feeling i have in me disappear: i realize it's time to go there. i have to sit here and cry. i do this sometimes...it's never one thing that sets me off. i wonder if it'll ever stop or if i'll be an old woman still crying for a daddy she never really knew. i get scared...i share everything in my life (as you all are so keenly aware) but this is something i cant really open up about in a substantial way... for friends' sanity i've decided to take a stab at it . a little insight never hurt anyone. i feel even more lost when i try to open up about him to friends and they breeze over it. i related to the bachelorette and one of the guys on the show when they started discussing losing a parent. it does mean something big when someone sits down with you and says "tell me about your father and how do you feel about him today"

none of this makes sense and it will continue not to. usually i go back in and edit huge chunks out so you all don't bleed from the eyeballs but i can't even scroll to the top and reread what i've written. for once stream of consciousness just has to work for ya. writing helped me calm down some but the sadness still resides. maybe in the morning this will all make more sense and i'll finally get on a path to dealing with this stuff in a more affective way. who knows.

alright. i'm exhausted. goodnight.


  1. Tish:
    I think you made yourself perfectly clear. This is a beautiful, powerful tribute to your dad and yourself. I felt it intensely in part because I so cherish my bond with my now-adult daughters, and because (sad to say) so many people still discount or undervalue the power, potential and influence of father-daughter relationships.
    This was certainly hard for you to share, and a hard day to live, but thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of us.
    Joe Kelly

  2. You know, I think talking/writing about it is a very effective way of dealing--I hope it helps. I'll be thinking about you today.

  3. not unnatural to me
    if they live in your heart
    plus u did A great job

  4. They say that you greive and mourn years later, again and again, as you change and begin to understand or come to terms with things. Know that we're all here for you, and thanks for having the courage to share.

  5. I think it's hard for anyone to fully understand the impact of a parent's absence (whether through death or divorce) in one's life. I love how you were so raw with your emotions and honest.


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