My father passed away last year. He was an alcoholic. He gave up his family, his career and his life for booze. This did not make him a bad man, he was a sick man. It took me years to realize and accept this.
When my sister called me to tell me he had died, I felt guilt, sadness, ashamed and confused. within twenty-four hours, my brother; had us booked on a flight to Florida. My dad had re-married and moved there in 1997. Never had been down there to visit him, I was not sure what to expect.
His wife asked us to go through "his room" and to take what ever we wanted. As we entered the small room, my heart sank.
Wall to wall with albums ,books, and movies. The albums were in alphabetical order, some in mint condition. The books were the same. From Frank Sinatra to Fleetwood Mac. My fathers love for music was one of the best memories I have. Dancing with him to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, watching classic movies from King Kong to Some Like it Hot.
Going through the classics and finding old pictures of him in the army was emotional. But wondering to myself, where were my pictures? His children. His grandchildren. My sister had sent him many of her kids. I, unfortunately, had only sent a few.
On the top shelf in shoe boxes, we found the pictures. Of us, his children. It broke my heart, but I think it broke his heart more to have them out.
We each picked our favorite Sinatra and Ella albums, favorite books that reminded each of us of our father.
Going through the box last night, I came across a little black book. "Twenty-Four Hours a Day". His AA book. Published in 1975. Hardly touched. Mint condition. I remember when he went to meetings and the calendar that hung on the kitchen wall for us to place stickers on every night he came "home from work". The stickers always stopped the last week of the month. He could never make it through a entire month.
"Twenty-Four Hours a Day"
In this book is a Thought for the Day, a Meditation for the Day and a Prayer for the Day for 365 days. Before these thoughts and prayers started, I came across this Proverb on page 2:
Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power-
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Reading this made me smile and tear up. Call it ironic. Call it whatever you want. Roll your eyes. I will read this book. (I am not an alcoholic). Just because it was probably the only book out of hundreds that my dad did not read and should have. If I can do something for him now, it would be to send him a thought and a prayer everyday.
Tough topic for me. Just needed to get it out.