The first letter I wrote for my father was very short. I was 8. I took a square piece of wood and painted it dark green. And on it I mounted these words.
As time goes by many things will change.
But through wars and battles,
One thing remains the same.
I will always love you.
Upon my father’s death I have inherited three letters I wrote him. One was in his desk, the other his lunch box, and the last was in his pocket as he checked into the hospital. The fourth letter I wrote in transit back to California. I haven’t finished it.
Below are excerpts from these letters.
I have learned more in this one year than any other. I have learned something about sadness. I have learned how beautiful it is: what a tender, intimate experience. There is nothing quite so beautiful as watching someone slowly bloom open and pour themselves out into the space; free, released, and so very sad. Seeing this in work with my students gives me the courage to do the same. For myself, I feel it as waves inside of me, that crest and fall back to the ocean. You could say in this year I have become an excellent surfer!
Time is a fluid thing, susceptible to the subjective perception of the human mind. These days I often meditate on whether it is real at all. Surely, what we perceive of time is very limited. We see a line where there is a sphere, a river where there is an ocean. Perhaps there is a space where time does not travel but simply exists?
I feel an opening in my chest as I write. For a long time I feel I have been operating in survival mode. I have been willful and hard with myself and placed a stone wall over my heart. It can let love out but never in. I have been operating like this for perhaps three years and now I have seen this defense system. I am feeling love again, allowing myself to be loved and through this gradual falling of stones I feel other hearts opening to me. I can finally see a love that has always been there.
My experience of life is changing. It is slow but profound. Things really are getting better all the time. Suffering becomes deeper but sweeter. Like the statue learning to love the feel of the chisel, becoming lighter as the excess falls away, trusting the hand of the sculptor, being patient in the process of being set free.
Love yourself, Dad. More and more I see that is the soil from which all beauty in our lives can grow.
It is five in the morning and I am on the train traveling to you. As I write these words I live in a place of unknown. Not knowing what is happening in California, what has occurred in the last few hours. I simply knew that I had to come to you and now I drop everything here to fly to your bedside, to hold your hand and whisper a sonnet into your ear. I feel my whole being pulled to this mission. I call out to you to hold on until I am there, till Robert is there, till we are with the angels surrounding your bed.
In my last visit to California I knew deep within me that I needed to move deeper into my relationship with you, that I needed to find a way of allowing a greater intimacy between us and through my observation and work it became clear that what I really needed to do was simply be more honest. I realized that if I wanted you to know me, I had to let you see me. I had let myself live in a state of fear, fear of the conditional nature of love, so when I would speak with you I would show you the me that I thought you would love best and lived with a half heart, full but unseen, unable to be emptied and therefore unable to be filled. And on our last day together in Yuba City I decided to be honest, to be myself, to risk it and see what happened and I ended up finding us. We danced and sang in the supermarket just like we did when I was a little girl. We spoke about past, present, and future and I told you stories about my life that I never would have shared with you before and all of it was received from you so willingly. I will carry that day in me forever as the greatest lesson.
The lessons we have learned together I will carry with me always. They are more solid than my bones, deeper than my marrow, they exist outside my body; here, there, everywhere…taking new shapes, strengthening, shifting and new connections are being forged in the space between our stars. Where there was only atmosphere there is now frequency, vibrating higher. Where there was void, there is now light, and this light comes from each of us, illuminating space, expanding in every direction, reaching for each other and out deeper into eternity.