Why Bother Remembering the Good?
Though my dad was an alcoholic, I did not become aware of this fault in him until I was eight or nine years old. Up until then, I was kept innocent from the effects alcohol had on him and our family. Up until then, I only knew how much he loved me.
Heart to Heart
My earliest memories of my dad were of his voice. It was deep and at the same time soft. He was the one who read the bedtime stories before tucking us in. He’d stretch out the full length of his 6’ body onto the rug in the girls’ bedroom and open up a hardbound copy of fairy tales. He’d captivate us with the story because he animated his voice to fit whichever character, whether the big bad wolf or Cinderella.
He was also a good singer. Though he did not sing us any lullabies, I did like sitting next to him in church. He sang the hymns with a harmonious voice.
Then there were the times I’d find my dad sitting alone on the front porch swing after dinner smoking a cigarette. It was natural for me to climb up onto his lap, lean my head against his chest and just listen to the beat of his heart. He’d often asked if I’d like for him to blow smoke rings and I’d nod. It was like a little magic show just for me.
Dad was never gruff, or crass. He was polite, mannerly and always showed respect to others. When he worked as an administrator for a nursing home, I sometimes went to work with him and I’d witness this tender compassion that he had for the residents.
This is why his alcoholism and suicide left me with such confusion. How could someone with his character qualities turn against themselves in such a destructive way?
Although his life had a sad ending, the sad ending is only a part of his story. There were many other parts of his life that were indeed so very good.
Why bother remembering the good? No matter how sad an ending is, there is always something good to remember.