Hey Mom… I started this at 5:25am 2 years on, exactly when I held his hand and whispered to him, it will be ok.
He could be honest, brutally so. He could be gentle, thoughtful, and sweet. He could be a good friend, and he could be a thief. He struggled with self-esteem, although only the astute would have known. He could be as mean, as he could be kind. He had a keen eye, and I loved going birding with him, since he saw sometimes as keenly as they.
I’ve often wondered what you would have thought of him. Rhetorical question, I know, since there is really no scenario that would have made that possible.
What happened was that once that haze of booze and coke wore off, that sweet guy I had seen at the beginning emerged, although as well did the pain; a pain that I guess ended up as much inside himself as exterior. Realities, missed opportunities, tangled up, and resting none too gently amongst his guts and such.
Why I strayed away to the Lake with him, well, I may never clearly know – but I believe it was meant to be.
Today, unlike with you, I would not say I thought it was all an unfair mistake; although I know he did.
Sure, he finally beat his demons, but it wasn’t going to be that simple. He wasn’t going to ride off into the sunset. Life offers no guarantees.
Neither would I say I feel he deserved it. His pancreatic cancer just was.
I stood by him, sometimes behind him, even in front of him. I gave him the ability to live those last months in his own way…I gave him dignity. Whether he deserved me or not is a moot point – you taught me well – we all deserve dignity. As well as compassion, if not forgiveness. I don’t care who you are, or what you’ve done.
This is what I am coming to terms with. I can’t wrap this all up though in some neat little bow, life is far too messy.
Oh yes, this messy, messy life. I often have felt over the last 14 years, 13 of those without you, that I must be ever vigilant. At odds within, and confused of who it is that beats instead, stumbling right through ecstasy, smack dab into the dark, and the divine.
It’s easy to look back now and try to re-arrange it all. To make-believe false memories, and whitewash who Tim was, would be easy I guess. I know damn well that Tim may have wished to be seen that way, oh well.
When he swooped me away with him, try as he might, he could not shake off who I was, and how I was raised. I learned, you know Mom, that I’ve achieved an important milestone with this whole messy thing – I can with confidence now say that even if you take away the one thing that defines me, even than, I will still remain, I will survive.
In the end, I was just as stubborn as he. I defied gravity, and did what ever the hell I pleased, for as long as I could. That place we had escaped to, that place, that Irish Lake, it still haunts me Mom. Oh how you would have loved it there, whether concealed by a blanket of snow and ice, ringed with cedars – to the sound of everyone engaging in the cool waters of a summer lake – it was my dream come true, as it was yours.
Every morning before the sun rose, out to the kitchen I would head, then coffee in hand I would watch the day begin.That last summer, that summer I knew would be the last for both of us, I savoured it all as if it were a fine, single malt Scotch. First, the aroma, and then the colour, a breath, and a gentle sip is taken, and you close your eyes and imprint that bliss upon your soul.
It is now 9:36am, and Irish is scratching at the door to get in. I have spent my morning drinking coffee, writing, and watching the day begin. The air is cool, and gold and ruby-red leaves scatter all the sidewalks here in the village. My mood is, contentment, the sun is finally shining, and I plan on enjoying this fair fall day. I do believe it is a day for the woods, away in the wilds. Maybe some more tears may fall, as they should. And I will savour my messy memories. And, Mom, they finally agreed to give me the day off. Had to go to the top, but damn it all, I just needed to be somewhere else today.