Sand and Water

Dear Daddy,

Remember when we all went to Fancy Gap for a pig-picking after David’s wedding? You and Ray were sitting at a picnic table, reminiscing about how fast David had grown up, and about where the tine had gone. I heard you tell Ray, “You know, I’ll be fifty this year, but I  don’t feel it inside. I look in the mirror and see myself and say ‘Yep, you sure do look like fifty’, but I don’t FEEL it. I feel 18.” I remember thinking about how ridiculous that sounded, and that of course you had to “feel” your age.

Well Daddy, you were a wise man.I always thought, even after you got sick, that we’d have more time, that you’d be here to see Wubby grow up. He is so like me, which means we are like oil and water together. But he’s also so like you, kind and gentle to a fault, never met an enemy, always looking for ways to make other people feel better. I wish you could see that.

I wish you could see your granddaughter and her horse. They have come so far from those little shows we used to have at the barn. Remember that “pokey kid” who took first place from those other riders whose coach stood and the rail and yelled at her students, “Pass that pokey kid!”? Well, she’s not pokey now. She’s fearless on a horse. They are amazing together. I wish you could have seen that.

But here’s the real thing, Daddy. I turned 50 this year, and I’m starting to get what you told Ray all those years ago. I don’t feel 50, but I don’t feel 18 either. Right now I just don’t feel. Anything. Except the pain that never goes away, my constant companion fibro. And maybe anger. I’m angry that our little family is alone in the world. The family ties don’t really bind all that much anymore. The kids miss their grandparents, ALL of them. And we miss our parents, ALL of them. Hubby misses his sister and his brothers, who are now spread out all over the place and busy with their own lives. Isolation could be a good thing if the conditions were right, but these aren’t optimal conditions for living the self-sustaining lifestyle.

I wish you were still here. I need to talk to you. I need to know some things. I need to know that I’m doing at least one thing right, that my life hasn’t been an entire screw-up, or if it has, I guess I need to know that too so I can maybe fix some things before it’s too late.

Please talk to me, Daddy. Somehow, some way, I need to hear your voice just once more. Tell me it’s going to be ok, that there’s nothing to be afraid of, that there’s still time to make a difference in this world, knowing full well that I could never come close to what you did.

When I was little you let me sit in your lap while you watch Walter Cronkite, and it was the safest place in the world. I need a safe place. Please tell me where to find one. Show me the way home.

All my love,

Your baby girl.

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