My heels clicked against the hardwood floor, the only sound in the hushed church. I climbed the three steps onto the alter and positioned myself behind the podium, the microphone on, waiting to expand my soft, low voice.
The words black against the bright screen of my Ipad, I began. Began a speech I never thought I’d be delivering.
It wasn’t in my daily planner, to be delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral mass last week. That Wednesday.
Life changed in a blink of an eye.
The call came on just the previous Friday, from my eldest sister, provinces away.
And by Saturday morning he had passed at 88 years old. A day later, a four hour flight east with my middle sister takes us there, to where he lives, lived, to gather as a family of five children, spouses, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
Honoring a life.
“Boy, did he ever worry about you,” a long-time friend of my dad tells me at the visitation.
I smile. Nod. I know.
I know the dream he had for me.
And what would have made my dad be less fretful, worrisome over me.
And he didn’t get to see it come true.
And that for me is one of the saddest parts of being in the living, while a loved one has passed on. I know what he wanted for me, yet I wasn’t able to give it to him before he passed on.
I think that is the turmoil I feel right now. But not sure.
As one who tends to internalize my emotions, I can seem cool and calm on the outside, carefully choosing my words I speak. Or just not speaking at all. I will hide behind a computer screen, a book, or go for long walks, alone.
Needing to stay in control.
Writers, a writer declared in a podcast I recently listened to, are ‘tortured souls.’ And it is through writing that writers process life.
And I think I agree. As it seems when I write, is when I am most vulnerable. And clear.
There a times I really want to give up writing wondering ‘what is the point?’ A question I pondered even more deeply since the death of my dad. Maybe if I hadn’t been writing, I’d have been able to open my life to have what he wanted for me?
Then again, maybe it is an acceptance instead, that writing is the way I process life.
And to be okay with that, instead of fighting it, wanting to be different.
Both my sisters eyes were wet with tears when I sat down after delivering the eulogy. My sister ‘n law patted my knee and whispered ‘good job.’ My stomach was clenched, my eyes were dry.
I know I may not be shedding tears today, guarded, as still seeing life through my scars. But I also know of our great Healer, the One whose hands and feet were pierced and scarred, and died to give us life.
“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good.” Brenda Ueland
Do you see writing as a way to process life? Or do you have another reason why you like to write?
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