Lately, I find myself travelling back in time. Arrows have led me down different paths. It’s been several months since my Mom’s passing & I have been going through some of her things. As Christmas nears, it’s been a clearing out sort of thing. However, during this time, I’ve taken a step back to observe some of the items she had, that belonged to my Father. It’s funny that in the wake of her passing, I find myself drawing closer to my Dad.
A lot of his music books and record albums are classical pieces. Remembering as a child, I didn’t like the instrumental pieces as much as he did. I recall him sitting at the radio listening to his music (we liked to call it “his music”) since us kids really didn’t appreciate that kind of stuff. But now as I look back over these things, I’m learning to understand my father more. His love for classical music went much deeper than a surface of instrumental collections. He had all the greatest composers in his collection; Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and so on. I’m discovering more and more as time goes by that this collection of music meant so much to him. I’m ready to dispose of it, to sell it to the highest bidder, to get rid of it, but then I see the road signs. The signs point me into a deeper understanding of the music that he held so close.
Over the last several days, I have “by chance” stumbled on to footnotes, websites, ads, or commercials discussing these pieces. Handel’s Messiah is one in particular that I came across today. I never heard of this musical piece, and Dad has it in his collection. Now I do not believe in coincidence. I believe everything happens for a reason. So as I look back over the last few weeks, I come to wonder. What is it that God is trying to teach me? Is it something I need to learn about myself? Something, about my Dad? Is there insight leading into Dad’s culture? I never truly understood or appreciated the music my Dad listened to. Matter of fact, I never gave it a chance. Instrumental, classical, violin, piano, to me, all of it was boring. I enjoyed a good lyric, a good beat, something that moved me in spirit & rhythm. Looking back, if I had known the depth of my Father’s interest, maybe if I gave him a chance to share it with me, I might have learned something deeper about my Dad.
I believe today he is doing just that. He is giving me a glimpse into his heart. Finding out that my Father loved Jesus so much makes me cry. He never showed us that side of him. Dad was a big man and very proud. He took pride in raising us right, providing for us financially so that we could have a good life. Dad looked out for us. He cared for Mom. He was the rock of our family. Oh, he had his downsides, I’m quite aware of that. No man is perfect. He was an alcoholic, and I know, that blemishes a person. However with that thought, beyond that facade, he was, a man of dignity. Alcoholism is a disease. It wrecks families, marriages, jobs, relationships, and lives. My Dad went into AA and stopped drinking for over 20 years. Near the end of his life, he began drinking again. Retiring at 62 was not what he wanted to do, but jobs were hard to find after his employment relocated. He didn’t know what to do with himself. All of us children had moved away. We had families to raise, our lives to handle. It was just Mom & Dad.
He wore the patches. Dad’s life had been difficult. My parents lost their first born son to pneumonia when he was just 8 months old. I cannot fathom burying a baby but they had to endure that pain. When my older brother was born a couple of years later, Dad had gotten a second chance. The second son, and only son, with 3 sisters, Mom & Dad raised us right. I am a better person, because I am, my father’s daughter.
His musical tastes will last on for generations to come. Maybe, just maybe, I will appreciate that one day. Today, I will play one of those records on my stereo system and remember a time when life was simpler, when my Dad sat at his piano playing the songs he loved to listen to. Yes, I will remember Dad in this way. Then one day, maybe I will truly understand what was in his heart.
Dad, I love you & miss you dearly, Your daughter.