I am watching the show Intervention: 80 days into treatment the alcoholic is diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He was sober a little over 100 days when he died. His young son says to the camera. “I am glad at least that my dad died a dad and not an alcoholic.”
I can’t get up from the couch and away from the TV fast enough. But the tears beat me.
Tracy Chapman comes on radio, “my old mans got a problem, live with the bottle that’s the way it is” and I remember vividly being in the backyard of my childhood home. It’s sunny and the whole family is out by the pool, either weeding or cleaning or swimming, when that song starts to play. My mom, listening to the words says to my father, “Ray, are you listening to this song?”
Maybe he was.
Maybe he wasn’t.
I didn’t really know my father. I couldn’t say.
I’m lying in bed in the dark, cats piled on me and a snoring man next to me. I grab my phone to turn off the alarm and check my email. There it was sitting in my in box. A letter I thought I’d never receive.
After over two years of no contact my former best friend, the one who ended our twenty year friendship via text, had written me an apology. I lay there stunned with quick tears burning my cheeks.
I had convinced myself she didn’t think of me, that I didn’t matter, that she did not miss me and here, staring me in the face, was evidence to the contrary.
And here she was delivering the very thing I wanted most but never got from my dad- an apology.
It’s been almost two months since I received that email and I can’t bring myself to write her back. Can I be friends with her? Have I forgiven her? Can two people mend such deep hurt?
I have no answer. So I wait and listen.
Everything that happened to us before comes with us into today and sometimes it is impossible to sort it all out. What’s from now, what’s from then, what’s real, what’s fiction, what’s hyperbole, what’s next. We want answers possibly to the wrong questions. We want it to be easier but it keeps getting harder.
There is a better way to do this and we’re feeling in the dark to find the light.