A Gang of Seven

 Pointing the Way


 Two Movements

 Three Sacraments

 Facets of Vital Engagement

 Vital Engagement:
            Life Blood of Trust

 Steps Towards Trust

 Missed Steps

 Unseen Options  

 Justice in Relationships




On the journey I review my relationship with father.  I tried so hard to address him,  to say everything I had to say and
to invite his response.


Finally, he said, ”No more.” No more questions. No further deep discussions. I was initially disappointed, then surprisingly at peace. He set his boundary. Something he rarely did. I am ready to let him go, ready for him to die. I hope this is it, that he can pass now. I want him on the other side moving on, growing, no longer stuck in his wounds, no longer fiercely defended.

My younger sister once said to me, “What happens if he dies while you are addressing him?” I replied, “If he dies really knowing me, that’s good.”

When I arrive I am greeted by my brother, his wife, and my younger sister in the intensive care waiting area. I am eager to see dad: “Are we allowed in his room.” “Yes,” says my sister. They lead me to his room. The nurse tending my dad welcomes us, explains, “He is on oxygen. His lungs are filling with fluid.”

The nurse leaves the room. We circle the bed and begin to talk among ourselves, “Will he survive this?” I ask. My brother responds, ”He has considerable heart damage. The doctors think he could survive this but not for long.” “Has he awakened at all,” I ask, “Have you been able to talk with him?” My sister replies, “He seemed to be aware briefly but did not respond to us.”

I suggest that we return to the waiting area to talk. I am anxious. I want us to talk about our relationships with dad. I want to say that I am ready for him to die. I want him to die. I am afraid that they will be angry, even outraged. I am afraid of my sister’s response. Will she try to cut me off or deny my right to want this. I want to hold my ground and invite her response. That’s fair. I want each of us to hear each other. I am terrified that how I knew dad will be discounted. I don’t want to react and stifle her either. I brace myself and speak. “I am tired of taking care of dad. I’m tired of his competing with me. I am not his sibling. I am not his father. I have said everything I want to say to him. I am ready for him to die. I want him to die.” Silence. I want to run. I want to be embraced. I’m scared of my sister’s response so I address her first. I won’t wait anymore. I ask her, “What are you going through right now?” My sister responds, “Dad is my ace in the hole. I depend on him. I can’t imagine him not being here.”

I want to stop her. I want to scream, “Don’t you remember the dinner table? Don’t you remember his constant fretting about his rejections? His angry outbursts at me?” I can’t let her word negate mine. I hold my scream back. “Later,” I say to myself. “I will hear her out. I will make room for myself and for her.” I speak, “Dad cared for us financially. Emotionally he relied on me to take care of him. When I tell him my need, he counters with his. I am tired. I am finished.” Then I turn to her. “How did he care for you?” She responds, “He is always there for me. He is concerned about me. He tries to help me. I remember him playing with me. I am his princess. I am sorry that you did not have this from dad.”

Suddenly, I feel confirmed. I begin to feel at ease. “Tell me the other ways he fathered you.” No necessity of denying each others’ reality. We each have our own. My brother is silent. I turn to him. He says, “I am not ready to let him go. I have never talked to him about me. Nothing is resolved between us. I take you as my example. I hate how he is. I hate being like him.” We continue, each with our own side and legacy with dad. I brace myself to persist. I inquire of their words and speak mine.