My father passed away five years ago at age 83. Today, I think about him in ways that I never did before. When he was alive one of things that I asked him often was about what he did the whole day, apart from watching TV? His response was “I think …. of past days, of people who were in my life … of things that I did and didn’t and things that I could have done …. ” and often his voice would trail off with a tinge of regret. While I did pick up the regret, I did not feel empathetic about it and often reminded myself a bit self importantly and even arrogantly that it was the usual habit of old people, since there was nothing else to do and perhaps also was some kind of indulgence to feel self pity.
Today my father is much more alive in my mind than ever before. In many ways, he has been the most significant person in my life, apart from my daughter. He was the first man I leant to love, to trust, to respect and to look up to and then slowly learnt to unlearn them all. Today, I am slowly re-learning to have empathy, understanding and putting together pieces of stories in my father’s life. And His life was full of stories.
This post is not so much as the relationship between me and my father, but more about what do we do if and when we believe we don’t particularly have a future to behold, but have a present and a past? When the future is what is to come sans a sense of particular vision but with a certainty of arrival, and a past that is unravelling itself differently now than it did before?
To me, this sounds exciting, because of a possibility that it essentially holds for itself, of looking at the future through the past, without getting caught in regression and omission and commission of the past. Of being able to re write the stories of oneself and of the others who have been made an impact in one’s life …. to view life differently than one has done before.
Hence, for me facing backwards this way is shaping the future differently and being able to write and to tell stories of my life and the lives of others who have touched me in more ways than one. One of the ways that I can pay respect to my father now is to write stories of his life hopefully bringing alive the person that he actually was – as himself and not just my father.
My last post was about stories we grew up with … this post is about stories that we are, or others have been.
what’s your story? What do you think about stores of our lives?