A memorial and a Reunion

sc0005d621This November 17th I will be lying on my father’s grave as the sun rises to bring a new day to fruition. I haven’t seen him since I found out I was pregnant with my first child over 16 years ago. I hardly knew him.
In 2007, I realized I needed to find him. I needed to know whether he was alive or had passed on. I wrote Social Security and found out he had died in August of 2002. None of us knew he had died in Nevada so many years ago.
It has been a process of discovery, physically, emotionally and spiritually that has led me to this moment of closure on November 17th. There will be a Military Salute, and a Burial Flag given to us as well because when he died, he had no family, he was indigent…a social services case…there was no memorial. Now, there will be one, with music, candles, family that loves him and grandchildren dancing on the grass above his grave. 
My Dad was an alcoholic. The kind of Alcoholic that would drink himself into blackouts, disappear for years at a time. I didn’t get much time with him and I was too late in finding him. I never got to say good bye.
But over the past 2 years, while I have tried (successfully) to find out where he is buried…music has created a bond and connection with him that I never had. Songs like Drift Away would come on the radio at the most impeccable time, I could hear my Dad in the music, feel his perspective, learn what his life journey was all about.
In so many ways, music has been healing my relationship with my Dad. I have realized, although he was not in my life he did love me, unselfishly chosing to stay gone so we could live without the pain of his addiction. Home by Foo Fighters is a song that truly touched my heart, I hear my Dad’s experience through that song completely.
My mom was going through her old papers this summer and found a letter my Dad had written to me in 1991 when he was sober. It is an amends letter. He explained why he drinks, why he hasn’t been there. He says he loves me and he’s proud of me. It is the best gift I could have been given, to hear my Dad’s words spoken to me through this tangible letter.
Our entire family is headed to Nevada for his Memorial. It is a wonderful thing to have a relationship with my Dad, it’s not too late for love, it never is. This November 17th, we will all be reconnected to him. Our story is forever changed, for the positive.

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