Monday, September 1, 2008

Returning to Bill

Of late I have been thinking a lot about my father, Bill. Of course, it has a lot to do with the new camera, but it also has something to do with Lynda's passing.

As long as she was alive, we didn't often speak of Bill. Mostly, I think this was because it opened up a cache of often-bitter memories for her and I was none too eager to delve into them. Though she came to terms with him late in his life, after his death, she vowed to 'remember and speak only of the good things.' Then she never spoke of him again.

Well, that's not really true, but she certainly didn't speak of him often, nor in particularly reverential terms. I sometimes would ask about him, but her recollections were deliberately vague and I didn't press.

Since Lynda essentially lived with us, it became my concern to deal with the living. I discarded, or at least set aside, my feelings and thoughts about Bill. Save his sister Rae, I think it's safe to say that no one other than my siblings are particularly interested in him. And even with that said, in all honesty, it's fair to say that only David and I share the love that we as sons had--still have--for our Dad.

This is not to disregard the feelings that Stephen and Anne might have had for him, but he arrived late enough in their lives that the love they had for him found its origins in the love and respect they already had for Lynda. As her choice, they accepted him. They were soon gone, however. In Stephen's case it came a mere five years after Bill married Lynda, and Anne was gone three years after that.

Even David and I have different recollections because he lived with Bill for a lot longer than did I. From early childhood, David was closer to Bill and I was closer to Lynda, so we have naturally different perspectives. I know we agree that he was a most loving individual, with a ready smile and, for the most part, a positive attitude. There is an irony there, since he didn't live long enough to prove the benefits of such an attitude, but of the many things I recall about his illness and painfully slow demise, one thing that stands out was his lack of complaint.

In fact, I really do not recall a single incident when Bill lamented in the way that Lynda did, or, for that matter, I still so often do. I cannot say what demons he had inside or faced or did not face in the years and months and hours before his death, for it seems I was with him less often than not, and I was not there when he died, alas.

But I do know this. Whenever I saw him, whenever he held my hand or held me in his arms, I felt the intense love that Bill had for me. As my life regains some balance now and he re-emerges as a force in my life, I see that I carry a bit of Bill's spirit still with me today.

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