Dad has been on my mind a lot lately. Nearly everyday I see something, or think something that reminds me of him. I look in the mirror and I see him. I think about me, raising Jazzy alone in Toronto, and I’m reminded of him, raising me during those very hard years in Regina.
Mostly I feel cheated. Never got to say goodbye because we were too pissed off at each other. I called three times after we last spoke to each other in anger, but he thought he had enough time to punish me with the silent treatment before he expired.
Why is all this bubbling to the surface now?
When he was alive, we would go a couple months between phone calls. It was our way. He was always available to me, but never at the top of my mind. I just had to pick up the phone and leave a message.
I think about him and I feel a rotten knot in my stomach. Never in my life have I felt something so ugly and vile, that I couldn’t freely speak about it to anyone. Now, the topic comes up and I am so overwhelmed with broken thoughts that I have to eject myself from the conversation, lest I feel something I don’t want to touch.
That’s what I’m carrying around inside me right now, and I don’t know how to shed it.
Dad died a bitter and crusty old man. So many people shit on him, and so many things were taken from him, that he could no longer see the light. He hurt many people with his words and deeds over the years, but he was also capable of so much selfless love.
The light and the darkness swirled inside him – and in the end the darkness won.
I look in the mirror and sometimes I don’t like what I see. And sometimes I don’t even care. And mostly I struggle to be the light, because that’s who I want to be.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a million miles away from everyone I care about because that’s the reality of living in a new city with no long-time friends or family around. I imagine I’m not alone with this struggle. Six million people crammed into such a small space, a large number of whom coming from some other far away place.
I looked at my phone on Saturday night, and I was going to send Nadia a text. “Come to Toronto for a visit. I miss you.” But I quickly dismissed the idea. A passing half joking, half truthful wish. Then a phone call on Sunday night.
“Hey Jarrett! It’s Nadia. I’m in town. Let’s have supper!” She was on a business trip and was held over in Toronto.
And sometimes the world ain’t so big after all.
Everything’s gonna be alright. Everything’s gonna be alright. Everything’s gonna be alright.