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Miles to Go

March 22, 2012

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep…
-Robert Frost

I know he was not trying to hurt me when we spoke yesterday. He can’t understand, really – not yet.

But he is trying to understand. Sometimes fumbling, sometimes awkward, but he keeps showing up.

His second message said:

“We should not have ended our conversation like that. Please call me back.”

I could hear his now-familiar gruff voice on my voicemail. He sounded calm, but maybe – just maybe – a little worried.

I was satisfied when I heard the worry.

“Good. Be worried,” I thought. “I hope it hurts, just a little.”

This anger rose up, up, up. It took me by surprise. I threw my phone against the van door. I screamed expletives at him, at God, at my mother.

If I could put all of this back in the box, would I?

He said one thing in our conversation yesterday and my voice – up to this point so consistently eager – turned immediately icy.

“You don’t know me,” I said stonily. “So you really have no idea how I feel.”

The conversation ended quickly, ended badly.

I was left alone with my anger.

Hugh says we aren’t fighting each other, not really. “Your mother links the two of you, her illness binds you,” he said, touching my hair as I cried. “You guys will realize that she hurt you both…you didn’t hurt each other.”

I called him back. “Speak to me,” he said when he picked up.

I vomited words all over him, “Well, I think you shouldn’t have said…and done…and I wish you would…and can you please…and don’t you really…”

He listened. “Some of what you’re asking is hard, but I’ll do it. Now it’s your turn to listen.”

I sat in silence while he talked.

A few minutes later we hesitantly talked about something else.

Then a few minutes after that we laughed.

Later Lucy pranced into the room, talked to her new Grandpa, and responded that “okay” she would like a nickname from him.

We laughed some more, shared details about our lives, then hung up with a promise of talking again in a couple of days.

My first fight with my father.

I was angry, I talked with him, I got over it.

I have miles to go with him.

But now – after a lifetime without him – I have started the journey.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    March 22, 2012 6:41 pm

    Hugh is so awesome.

  2. Rainbow Brite permalink
    March 23, 2012 8:37 am

    Some people can’t do that with family members they have known their whole lives. Relationships take work, and you two are definitely working on it. The other option is to get mad and stay mad, and that is just not fun. I think that you are doing great and moving forward. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Can I think of any more cliches to fit this moment? Not now, but it is still early.
    Love you!!!

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