It’s funny how I say I have nothing to write, and then the words suddenly spill out of me.
I feel the greatest wound left in me came after my dad died. It was just him and me for a time. My mom and sister had passed away, and my two much older brothers lived elsewhere. So it was just him and me, and it was nice. I’ve always felt really close to my dad, as though we shared a special spirit bond, and I loved to spend time with him. We had many talks just the two of us, about God, about death, about life.
But then he got sick. Some strange darkness came over him and I could not make him smile. He would lie in his chair and stare into space, and sometimes he would look at me, and I could almost read the thoughts passing through his mind, the guilt and shame he felt about many things. I would tell him it did not matter, but nothing could reach him.
He was put in a mental hospital and I lived alone for a time, in that big house, leaving the lights on at night because I was afraid. But I got used to it, buying food and making easy dinners, going to school.
I remember him showing up one day as I was resting after school, and I looked up to see him standing in my doorway. I was so happy to see him, but he seemed so dark, so cold, like there was no life in him. Whenever I hugged him he barely hugged back, and I’d look at him and ask him to smile, and he would, but it never reached his eyes.
It was heartbreaking to see him fall away from me, and that I could do nothing to catch him, to make it better.
I remember sitting on the floor, rubbing his feet because they were always freezing cold. I rubbed them warm, but they got cold again right away. He had come home to pick up some things, before they drove him back to the hospital.
I remember watching the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and wishing the spell over my dad could be broken, the way it was for Theoden of Rohan. I fell in love with Eowyn, and felt with her as she held her uncle’s hand, speaking to him, and yet he did not hear her, being all withered, aged and grey from a dark spell put on him. But then it was broken, and he turned young again, was once more himself. He remembered who she was. I yearned for that so much.
I loved Eowyn. Watching her journey gave me a sense of strength, of purpose. I wanted to be strong and brave and to ride through my own darkness, break through it. She is still my favorite character of all time.
My very last memory of him was as I was getting in the car one evening, and turning around to see him looking back at me from the ferry that was taking him back to the hospital. He was drifting away and we looked at each other, and that’s the last thing I remember of him, how he slowly drifted away from me.
I got a phone call from my brother a while after, saying my dad had taken his own life at the hospital. I remember sitting down, my whole world crumbling.
I feel like crying as I write this, but no tears come. They never seem to come anymore, but instead they are stuck inside, like my insides are made up of tears. I miss him so much. I miss my family and the warmth we had between us.
But by writing this I feel something letting go, something releasing and I pray for it to be carried away and healed, because deep down I feel things are ok now. I feel he is ok, that he is happy. I feel we will meet again, that we’re still connected.
As the years passed it became harder to remember his face in detail, but I could always recall the feeling of his hand in mine, how callused it was from all the work he did outdoors. I remember slipping my hand in his as we walked up the dirt path to our house, talking, laughing about something.
Eowyn. I love her spirit.