The Captain of His Soul


Was it really August that I last wrote? (And what I wrote was that I was supposed to write something every day? *sigh*)

My father died shortly after my last post. He had been ill for quite a while, and his death was not completely unexpected; still, we miss him terribly. My mother is struggling valiantly to redefine herself after 50 years of marriage. She is doing everything she should, from grief counseling to choosing carefully which invitations to accept as she steps tentatively back into the world, a widow instead of a wife. I admire her so much, even as it wrings my heart to see how much she misses Dad.

My adult children miss him.  My son, age 30, a devout atheist and cynic, broke down and wept as he read Henley’s “Invictus”, his grandfather’s favorite poem.  “He was my best friend,” my boy said, through his tears.  My pregnant daughter couldn’t bring herself to speak.  It was enough that she was home from overseas in time to say her good-byes to the grandfather who never ceased to refer to her as “little Star”, though she is nearly 30 herself, married and (now) a mother.  Oh, how he fretted while she was away.  “I just want to live long enough to see little Star walk through that door and say, ‘Hi, Grampa!'”  He got that wish.  Oh, how smitten he would have been with his infant great-granddaughter.  (One more child to worry about!)

My dad wasn’t perfect.  As a parent, he fell on his face plenty.  But Sis and I were lucky.  We had parents who were not just able, but actually willing, to say, “We messed up.  There’s so much we’d do differently if we could go back.”  It’s amazing what a difference it makes to hear a parent say that.  It made me, at least, that much more able to focus on all the good they did for and gave us.  It’s something to remember.  It’s something for me to remember.Big Shoes