It has been a month since I left, and today was the first time I felt far away from home.
I could almost see my sister sitting there next to my Mom when she got the news about my grandfather’s illness. And I was not there. My absence was palpable in this instance.
Should I have been there with my Mom or was it enough for my sister to be the one holding her hand, like it had always been growing up? My sister and my Mom had perpetually been more than mother and daughter – they were pals, friends, sidekicks. When my Mom needed to run a quick errand or take a trip to the grocery store, she’d call only on my sister to accompany her. Nena was the oldest, and therefore, the fun one to be around.
Since they had each other, I knew that leaving them again would not be as difficult – just like when I went to college. My Mom and sister were not the ones I worried about being far away from. Their kinship would continue without me, especially since they live next door to each other.
The relationship I worried about was the one with my father. My Dad was the one I knew would suffer through losing me again. As much as I knew he would be happy for me and encourage me to pursue my dreams, I also felt that he would miss me the most. And I would miss him dearly.
What is it about dads and daughters? It is an unparalleled love – a natural closeness that never decays. My father is still the only person who regularly calls me to see how I’m doing. It’s endearing how he hasn’t gotten the timing down yet. He’ll call when I’m at work, or late on a Friday night. A friend pointed out yesterday that my voice mail box is full. As I cleared it out today, I noted how so many of the messages were from my Dad.
It got me thinking about letting go. Daughters letting go after a parent has passed away; fathers letting their daughters go so they can grow to be young women. Letting go is not just something that happens when there’s a milestone. It isn’t an occasion only celebrated with age or school graduations. Sometimes it is just something we have to do in time.
How do you know when it’s time?
The unspeakable truth is that you know it’s time when the other person doesn’t need you any more. It’s also time when the other person’s happiness matters more than your own. I think about my dear Mom who will one day have to endure losing my grandfather. While it will be unbearable at the time, I hope she will take comfort in knowing that he will be happy again with my grandmother who we lost not too long ago.
My father packed his feelings away just in time to let me start my new life here in St. Louis. I can’t imagine how he must have really felt. Maybe I will ask him about it someday. Even more, he never made me feel guilty for chasing this life, and for that, I will forever be grateful. And I won’t forget to show him that he’s still needed.
After seeing how my mother’s time with her father may be limited, I don’t want to waste any time not cherishing my Dad. You see, sometimes you have to let go just to be close again. Even though I felt like it was my duty to stay by family, I let go. And, while I sometimes feel like my absence lingers, I have never felt closer to my family.
This one’s for you, Daddy.
1975 by Stevie Nicks
I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till Landslide brought me down
Oh mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm mmm I don’t know
Well I’ve been afraid of changing ‘cause I
Built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older, I’m getting older too
I’ve been afraid of changing ‘cause I
I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too
Soo take this love, take it down
Ohh if you climb a mountain and you turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down, down
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills,
Well maybe, the landslide will bring it down
Well well the landslide with bring it down