Friday, May 10, 2013

Run, Daddy, Run.

Sometimes we cry for help and the people we need the most don't hear us. Maybe the people we need don’t have the capacity to help us... not then... or maybe they don’t want to.  It takes a strong person to take on someone else's sorrow, or fear, or devils.  Some people, like my dad, never cry for help when he needs it... I’m not sure if I know which is worse: asking for help and having someone turn their back on you, or never asking at all... never thinking you could ask for help.

Daddy can you hear the devil drawing near
Like a bullet from a gun, run daddy run. 
All the songs you used to sing to me
Would rock birds to sleep
I need you now so please somehow
Put rockets on your feet
Saw that dark cloud coming...
No…  I think I do know.  I think the worst feeling is understanding someone needs help, and not knowing how to help them.  It is knowing they can’t cry for help, but also knowing you aren't strong enough to rescue them, despite their silence.  And the silent ones... they are the people who always –-always—answer every cry for help. They are the metaphorical rock for everyone else to hold onto when it feels like we are being swept away with the churning, sucking tide that life can be.  How do these strong people stand their ground?  How do they hold the waters back and not lose their footing, when so many are grasping desperately onto them?

Daddy can you hear the devil drawing near
Like a bullet from a gun, run daddy run.

M I don’t want to be the one who pushes my daddy’s head under the water.  We have been like the WWII soldiers my grandfather described from his years in the US Artillery, leaning against each other, back to back, so we could stay standing while trying to sleep for a few moments, instead of collapsing into the blood and mire.  Can’t lie down.  Have to keep one eye open.


Saw that dark cloud coming from a million miles away.

Oh how I’ve dreaded this god forsaken day.

Like soldiers he trusted me to have his back... literally. But instead I shifted my weight, in my own sadness and weakness, and I let him slip.  And there are not many people who can possibly understand the cataclysm of my father’s fall.  But no one can dare to say it's not my fault, or, “Take care of yourself, you can’t take care of everyone else.  Your father is an adult.  He’ll be fine.”

Daddy can you hear the devil drawing near
Like a bullet from a gun, run daddy run.

...From a million miles away...
But I’m in a situation that feels so overwhelming, I’m mentally ignoring it almost completely.  I can converse about it with people, but I am speaking of it as if it has nothing to do with me, and I have no feelings about it.  I’m numb. I’m replacing the horror of this single circumstance with a multitude of other calamities that mean nothing.  Piled on top of each other, these "problems" would still dangle high on one side of the scale, as if they weigh nothing at all; just a feather to be matched against Sisyphus’ boulder...  To acknowledge the other side of the scale fully would be too frightening...  And that’s not just because it might crush me, I’m terrified it will bury my father.

Mama’s been crying in the kitchen
Sister’s been afraid of the dark.
I’ve been gathering the pieces of all these shattered hearts.
And I don’t care where you go to
And I don’t care where you land
But just get out of there daddy as fast as you can.
Dear Daddy,
     Holy cow.  Trying to sort through all my files and email messages, knowing they will be deleted if/when I leave, is like cleaning out the house a family has lived in for 50 years.  There is so much stuff!  And I can't help but want to stop and hold onto some of them for a while, look them over...  memories.  The best ones are from my students!  Sigh...
    This might be one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  (Not the clearing the files and email part).  And I realized that this difficult thing for me, is probably 1/8 as difficult, as your most difficult things you have had to do.  Blah.  This is awful.
In the back of my mind I am hoping [he] writes to tell me that he insists I stay, because they would not ever want to lose such a dedicated and caring and capable teacher from their district.  I'm also not holding my breath.
Love,  Joanna
***
Dear Joanna,
I feel terrible about all this, believe me.  Anything I have had to deal with--the death of my mother or my father, or losing our family home, or the loss of Jimmy--was hard for me.  But this is your pain and tragedy and there is no way to measure that against the pain and loss in my life.  This must be a nightmare for you.  And I wish I could save you from this.  Let me know if, in fact, there is anything I can do.  I will try to visit tomorrow so we can talk more extensively about things--but I am thinking of you and this terrible moment in your life and I wish I could take the pain and sadness that burden you and simply load it onto the layers of darkness that I have grown accustomed to since I was a boy.
   Hang in there.  We all love you.
Love, Dad
He’s not fine at all.  I let him fall, when I was on watch. I crumpled, and he couldn't keep standing.But my daddy won’t ask for help.  Never.

Daddy can you hear the devil drawing near
Like a bullet from a gun, run daddy run.
Run Daddy run, run daddy run, run daddy run.
“Run Daddy Run” by Miranda Lambert (feat. Pistol Annies)™

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