Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Life With Sarg - Epilogue

Gail called a Methodist minister over to talk about Sarg's eulogy. I went to the den where Sarg spent his evenings, secluded from the rest of us, save my sister any time she felt so inclined. While Gail tried to tell the minister what a great guy the Sarg was and how much he loved Jesus, I buried my nose in his chair and tried to catch a hint of Budweiser and Cohiba. I wrapped myself in his worn afghan and ran my fingers along the buttons of his remote. In this forbidden playground I fought back the tears I never cried growing up. "Listen you sonofabitch. I never cried for you while you bullied around this house so I'm sure as HELL not crying for you now." I laughed with Sarg. I knew that he knew I was all grown-up now. I knew he was watching me settle into his chair to claim my rightful spot as his daughter. I knew that he saw the independant woman that for so many years manifested herself as a belligerant brat. I laughed with my dad as I ran upstairs for a coke. Through the kitchen I buzzed, past Gail and Reverand Stranger, stopping only long enough to give Gail the evil-eye for lying to a man of the cloth. Returning to the den to commune with Sarg, I took not the chair, but my sister's seat at the foot of the chair. While my body heat transformed the cold tile of the fireplace hearth, a childhood memory invaded in my brain. My sister is five and we're playing in the den. She falls backward and cracks her head against the corner of the hearth. I panic. I hate her. I love her. I'm in trouble. I start to take a sip of coke and rush back to the present. Before the liquid reaches my lips, I smell beer. I look at the can, thinking I might have grabbed the wrong thing, but the red and white logo assures me I did not. I sniff - Beer. I taste - Coke. Sarg. I'll be damned.

I prayed for Sarg the night he died. I thought God had denied me. I was wrong. Until I learn to love him, and have that love returned, he's with me - that was my prayer. It took years of distancing myself from him to realize that I've been holding on. I want to love him, to understand him, to accept what love he had left to give me. But if I do, he leaves. If I heal the hurt, accept the body, harness my independance, restore the self-confidence, claim the birthright... if I do, he leaves.

Maybe that's why I still rebel...still wonder... still defy...

Maybe that's why in beginning the journey of wholeness, I suddenly feel frightened.

Daddy...not yet. Please