Sunday, December 6, 2009

on this day

a year ago today my father flew away.

it's the strangest thing.
the last time we hadn't talked for this long
was when he emigrated to canada
in nineteen sixty-five
leaving me, my mum, and my bruvver behind
in england
for a year.

the hard part this time around
is that
through our parallel growing

and outwards,
and inwards,

he and i developed understandings -
an appreciation for each other.

you can have no idea
how unexpected
that was.

so i'm
about losing that
whole piece
of my life.

he arrived -
the son of a methodist minister.

he flew away -
a buddhist.

his life an unlikely parabola.

i take great joy
in knowing
that he flew away
a much more whole person.

his work in the form he took,

so i'm thankful
and grateful
for his life.

and even though
i know his
has returned
in its next
incarnation ...

i miss him.

much feeling- but it's just as if there's none,
i think behind my cup, but cannot smile.
the candle has a heart- it too hates parting,
in our place, it sheds a tear at dawn.


Kathleen said...

hmmmm....what a fascinating tale that must be, going from a PK to a buddhist. You'll have to tell us more of the back story sometime, Steven, when it feels right, of course. Something tells me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that your big wide open heart that attracts beauty all around you has something to do with these past 12 months. I'm probably being presumptuous, but I remember how raw that first year was for me, how, it shattered my shell, and opened my eyes wider than ever before. My heart goes out to you and I wish you peace.

Dan Gurney said...

May your father be safe, happy, healthy and at ease. You, too!

Janice said...

love these words steven. they touch a tender spot. thx J

Anonymous said...

something very strange and haunting about the loss of a mum has been gone almost two yrs now, time I feel doesnt make it better, it just changes how we deal with it...

peace my friend

Rachel Fenton said...

I cannot begin to understand how you feel but I find words and nature to be the most comfort whan I am sad. The photograph of the bare branches against the sky is very poignant with the words you have chosen.

Lori Witzel said...

Sending good wishes to you, through the opening made by this lovely post. Thanks for a fast reminder of what matters.

Pauline said...

You have a way of touching others' hearts with your words - the missing does not stop but it changes, becoming more poignant and less painful as time passes. The photo is magnificent.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Beautiful tribute and sentiments.

Reya Mellicker said...

This is such a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for this.

I'm thinking that when you two found common cause, unexpectedly, it must have been such a wonderful experience for him, too.

What is remembered, lives. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

Linda said...

Missing family leaves us with a feeling of emptiness. When I feel that empty space, I try to fill it with a happy memory. My brother Steve inherited my father's giggle, so I phone Steve and make him laugh and I remember warm thoughts of my dad. It is always good to dwell among the positive memories and sharing those memories with your children helps too. We are thinking of you today at our house, Steven. ((HUGS))

Golden West said...

I hope it gives you some comfort to know how proud your father must have been of the man you've grown to be.

ellen abbott said...

How nice that you became close to your father before he passed onwards.

Jenny Stevning said...


Barry said...

Your photo of the trees, so stark against the sky, still holds great strength and beauty.

Your father sounds like a man who took life seriously and the fact that the two of you were able to speak together about meaningful things is a rare gift between men.

That was a wonderful tribute Steven.

steven said...

hi kathleen, i've always had open eyes - my heart has been opened through the many joys and sorrows i've experienced through the course of my life for sure. i've expressed myself through art, music, writing, my family, my work and of course through this blog. there has been a freeing up and more openness about me since my dad flew away. it's more detailed than that but i'm not able to articulate it just yet. thankyou for your thoughtful comment. steven

steven said...

thanks so much dan. i experience sorrow and joy in the process of death. you know the way sorrow and joy manifest and especially their roots. have a peaceful day dan and thankyou for your thoughtfulness. steven

steven said...

hey janice - thanks! steven

steven said...

hey steven, time changes your perspective. mmmm hmmmm. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi rachel - thanks. i hope to find some time to head out on my bike through the snow later. there's a bridge over a river that i keep seeing in my mind's eye. it's the reflections in the water i'm thinking about. we'll see. have a fruitful day. steven

steven said...

lori thankyou very much. it's funny you know - i think of blog postings as opening as well. they let light in and out on whatever it is you're thinking about. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi pauline - it's the strangest thing to drift in two relational directions at once - to be accepting of what happens and then too to have regrets. it goes all the way through life doesn't it?! have a peaceful day and thankyou for your thoughtful comment. steven

steven said...

thankyou bonnie. steven

steven said...

hi reya - i like that "what is remembered lives". there is a selective feature to the unpacking of lives passed but the essence of what i take from my father's passage through this plane is what i learned - for better or for worse! i can credit the possibility of my existence and many of its better features to him that's for sure. have a lovely snowy day in dc. steven

steven said...

hi linda - i'll be heading down to cobourg to visit with my mother this afternoon for that very purpose! to remember the dopey, eccentric, unpredictable, predictable, angry, sad, silly, strange, loving man that he was. thankyou so much for your thoughtfulness linda. steven

steven said...

hi golden west - i had to push through a lot with my dad - a fair portion of it was proving my worthiness - i think lots of children go through that. i now that i passed pretty much all of his "tests" after working for him for ten years and then becoming a teacher. there was more of course but the surface accomplishments were something i know he admired me for. thankyou for your very generous comment. steven

Liza said...

What a beautiful tribute.
"the son of a methodist minister.
he flew away -
a buddhist."
What a journey, and the experiences he must have had to share. What colour, wow!
Thanks for sharing this Steven.

Anonymous said...

I am sad and glad for you and him. I think you must know that he can have a chance to return and has the choice of who to return as and where to return to. Such is that kind of spirit you described.

Kay said...

beautiful post for your father steven....

hope said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

But isn't it great that we have memories to keep us going? I lost my Dad 14 years ago and I still "hear" his voice when I need it most. Sure, it's with my heart, not my ears, but it still works. :)

steven said...

hi ellen, it was really important in terms of validating my own work through this world and then also for him. he carried so much pain from his own childhood and youth that i think that being accepted and loved by his own children was of tremendous if not somewhat incomprehensible value to him. steven

steven said...

jenny stevning - thanks for all the stars!! i wish i had one of those early turing computers that could decode secret messages!!! steven

steven said...

hi barry - my dad took life seriously. his entry points were cerebral for the longest time, but it was time that softened those protective edges and opened him up to the whole of being. it's because of that that we were able to begin to become available to each other to the degree we did. thanks for your thoughtful comment barry. steven

steven said...

liza his journey was beautiful ugly real colourful unique spectacular ordinary predictable unpredictable but in the end he had a lot of goodness about him. thanks so much for your kind comment. steven

steven said...

hey abe - that's how i think!!! thanks. steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Steven, this remembrance of your Father is a deep night sky, filled with stars and their atmospheric shimmer. You expressed your love in a way that brought a warmth to us all. I will always think of the graphing of "his life an unlikely parabola". Beautiful. And the missing of our departed parents is painful, but sweet as well, as it brings us back to them in our thoughts and hearts.

steven said...

hi richard - i'm very grateful for your comment here. i've learned a lot through the process of my dad preparing to fly away - as a buddhist he "learned" about death through retreats and readings - the sudden immediacy of loss and its painful fall out and of course the longer richer experience of his goneness. much of that has gone into informing the quality with which i live my own life. an unexpected parting gift!!! have a fruitful day. steven

Robin Easton said...

OMG!! This is soooooooo moving. I relate to it on many many levels (in relation to both my parents...and others).

I made sure that my parents and I were totally at peace before they moved on. Although it took courage (especially with my mom) I have been forever grateful that we connected on the deepest level possible. Although my Dad has moved on and my mother is now deep in Alzheimer's, because of that connection I consciously made with both of them, they are STILL with me ALL the time.

My relationship with them continues to grow in the most amazing ways. Although it may sound odd to some, I feel my parents still with me through all the events of my life. They are encouraging me, supporting me and loving me sooo deeply. The most remarkable part of this is the tenderness of compassion I feel from them.

When my mother rose to the occasion and saw "our talks" as utterly important (and even acknowledged my courage in doing it) it was one of the greatest gifts in my life. She talked more at "the end" than she had my whole life.

What beauty, passion and endless hope you instill in others. It is just exquisite! Such freedom spirit here. I am again touched very deeply.

Thank you Steven,

steven said...

robin - the relationship piece - with anyone - is filled with challenge and opportunity. i was writing about love in a later post, especially the way that love in our daily experiencing is a metaphoric window into unconditional love. i also wrote that we can experience unconditional love through passing through the metaphor portal of love as we experience it. easy words. but truthful and i know that you know that.
my relationship with my dad opened as he opened and through his opening, he became aware of how i had opened. we were able to be much more to and for each other. his flying away was easier because i know that he never left.
i have always wished to bring beauty, passion and hope to this world on whatever scale. i first knew this as a little boy. here i am. as i am. robin. thanks for the affirmation. i have so much work to do. steven