The End of the Beginning

I started this blog with the idea that I would give the world a little of my father’s talent, one that he kept hidden away, and write about him a little, as a way of getting to know him.

I have done that; I have started with the ending, an ending I saw coming from many thousands of seconds from now. My thoughts live in seconds, not minutes or hours. They thrash about before making it to the page, before my fingers tap, tap, tap so lightly to engage the current that carries their signal to the screen, and—tap—through cables and ether to yours. But this ending, that of my father’s life, was an eon within a second. An achingly short moment that will last forever in my mind. And so, it saddens me to say that this beginning of his ending is now over. My father passed away on September 1st, shortly after 9 a.m.

He had grown ever distant, depending on my mother’s care, rarely speaking, but existing as a monument to his own life, a mystery and an icon in the lives of his family, a face turning away, towards something only he could see, a hand that once expressed desire through lines, now clutching a blanket.

He was my father, yet I hardly knew him. He is the greatest unsolved mystery in my life, and I know not what to do with him, except give him to you, here, on the page. I have clues, through writings and drawings, of what he really felt about a life that changed abruptly at the close of the Viet Nam war. It was the end of the largest chapter of his life, and he closed the cover to the contents within, ciphering quiet secrets at the end of his pen.

Today, I open a Mead notebook, dated 1969. I want to find something of him in the quoted material he obsessively wrote down. He would not dare to write his own thoughts, but in copying down feelings and thoughts he could attribute to others, he may just be revealing some of himself. And now, as I read these passages again, I stumble and stop, because I can hear him speaking to me:

“We like to figure things out and make them come out right.”


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