It’s complicated

My relationship with my dad was complicated at best. When he died 10 years ago, our relationship became frozen at an awkward stage—full of frustration and confusion. Today, when I think about my dad, I seesaw between anger, pity, sadness, and empathy.

This Father’s Day, I’m sad that I will never be able to know his full story, and that I will never get to know him better as a person. So many unanswered questions I wish I could ask. So many stories I wish I could hear. So many hurts I wish we could mend together.

  • Sorry for not being more fully present for you, especially during that last year of your life.
  • Sorry for not knowing how to talk to you.
  • Sorry for never being on your side.

In the spirit of focusing on the positives, I decided to practice gratitude today and to meditate on what he gave us through his life, example, and genes.

  • Thank you for showing us how to use our voices and for always being so loud. Thank you for being a natural-born storyteller. It taught us how to speak up and be heard.
  • Thank you for showing us how to be friendly, gregarious, and outgoing in a room full of friends or strangers. You taught us how to be inclusive. You taught us how to laugh.
  • Thank you for your faith, and in your commitment to your faith.
  • Thank you for dreaming big and trying new things, even in the face of your family’s criticism and doubts. You showed us how to never settle.
  • Thank you for doing what was right in the end. Heaven knows it wasn’t easy for any of us. But you showed up and stuck around when it mattered most, and that’s what counts.
  • Thank you for being proud of us and for loving us in your own way.

We were all just doing the best that we could. We were all just doing the best that we knew how. That’s my mantra these days, as I navigate these murky waters. There’s nothing that could have been done differently. I can’t rewrite the past.

We were all just doing the best that we could. We were all just doing the best that we knew how. It brings a kind of solace for now.

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Inspiration: Universal Love from Cowbird

This video called “Universal Love”  is lovely, just lovely. Its topic: human life, and its content: crowdsourced from the stories published on Cowbird — a storytelling platform whose mission is to capture the great big messy human experience.

(Cowbird is Jonathan Harris’s latest endeavor. If you don’t know his work, totally worth diving into his winding journey to here.)

Inspiration: Moving On

This beautiful video will pull at your heartstrings and just might unravel you — especially if you’ve lost someone. Forgive the puns. Otherwise, ugh, it’s just a straight suckerpunch to the gut. Worth it, though…

[Edit: Or you can just look at it as a great extended metaphor for creativity, and how you have to let go of some ideas to make way for new ones!]