I wrote this blog post when Stella was five. Thoughts of my father have been coming up again as I’m now the age he was when he died by suicide and Naomi is the age I was when my dad died. It’s such a strange thought to imagine my dad, this impenetrable person, and what he must have experienced, through my eyes which are no longer those of a child. I’m the same age as Joe. I’m not a total mess. Most often, I avoid overtly thinking of my dad; but it’s in the snapshots of me at 43 that I can glimpses of him. I remember Dad being excited about the house he and Mom renovated. But there is so much distance. So few memories. I think if I were to die, what memories would Stella and Naomi have of me? How unknowable are one’s parents?
After my mom died, my attitude toward writing changed. I still have this burning feeling to get stories and thoughts on the page. It eats at me that I don’t write to the degree I want to. But, I realized my audience is my kids. One day, I’ll be gone. My words though will be my voice. I experienced this by reading some essays and writing my mom kept. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was a keen observer of people and processes.
So what to do about these echoes? Maybe I should write more. But it’s such an upsetting history and I spent so much time as a teenager and twenty-something going through the trauma. I made peace with the past, but I don’t want to acknowledge that current circumstances have upset the order I’ve made. It’s like a fragile ice sculpture, if I touch it I may bring it crashing down. Do I dare?