Absence Makes the Heart Grow

How is it possible that after a person is gone, it seems you come to know them better?

Perhaps it’s because the old barriers are gone and there is freedom to explore, not only the individual, but ourselves and our feelings.

Perhaps it’s because we are able to see the person as a whole, from the views and positions of others, and not just with our own eyes and through our own relationship.

I don’t know.  Wish I did.  Perhaps someone who reads this will be able to shed some light on this for me.

Dad died Father’s Day 2012.

When he died, I thought I knew him well.  And, I felt I had learned all of him, and about him, possible…that there could be no more to learn.

After all, as his daughter, I had known him for 55 years and had lived in his house for 20 of those years.

But, in the year+ that he’s been gone, I’ve come to see beyond the man I knew as Daddy and saw through eyes of adoration. In his absence, I’ve experienced him in new and different ways as friends and family have spoken of him and of their own loss.

I see my dad differently now. And, perhaps, I see myself differently as well.

My dad didn’t change.  It was only my perception of him that changed as my knowledge of him grew to a more well rounded understanding of who he was as a man, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a father-in-law, a grandfather, a friend….

And, as I beheld the man…the whole man, I began to look at the woman…the whole woman.

Me.

Part of my understanding of who I was (am) was founded in who my dad was, or, who I saw and understood him to be, and my relationship to and with him.

My identity was, in part, wrapped up in his.  Or, in the identity I had given him because of my experiences with him, our relationship, and the words of others.

“You’re just like your daddy!”  “I see your daddy in you!” “You’re your daddy made over!”

Dad’s been gone a little over 14 months.

When I look in the mirror, I still see him…the eyes, the perpetual frown (genetic not anger generated), curls, freckles….

But, more often than not, I see me and traits I obtained from him.  And, I am beginning to accept, and like, the me that I see.

It’s good to look beyond and observe the whole of a matter…of a person…of a situation.  Taking in what’s ignored or unseen gives a more complete picture and greater understanding of and appreciation for what is.  And, you never know…you just might find yourself – your true self – hidden within your assumptions and blind ideas.

Take a look around you – a fresh look with open eyes and willing heart.  You might be surprised by what you learn about those nearest and dearest to you.

And, you just might be surprised to find that you grow up and grow into the person you’ve been all along and just didn’t realize it because you were trying to be someone else.

Happy 88th Birthday, Daddy!  I’ve always loved you, but I find my love and appreciation for you has grown in your absence. The more I learn of you, the more I love you and appreciate the traits of you that I see in me.

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