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A Father's Wisdom

Sunday, August 2, 2015


I walked into the room I had built for my mom years before. The Saltillo tiles beneath my feet were cool and smooth. I pulled back the teal and cream-colored quilt, the Egyptian cotton sheets, and slipped beneath them.

It was one of those nights when thoughts prevailed and sleep was elusive. With my head on the pillows, and the blankets pulled up around me, I took in the beauty that had been meant for my mother.

I studied the chocolate colored ceiling and the light powder pink walls that surrounded most of the room. The alcove, built for the plush king sized bed, is also chocolate.

On each side of the alcove are massive light cream-colored built-in bookshelves filled with various items, from the move, that had yet to find a home to call their own.  In front of the built-ins are crystal chandeliers, and the built up baseboard that finished off the look of the room is about ten inches tall and intricate.

To the left is the closet with double solid cherry wood doors adorned with crystal knobs. They are the doors of days of old with five horizontal panels engraved in the beautifully stained wood.

To the right is the window with dark teal, velvet panels that pooled gracefully on the floor. In between the richness of the velvet hang handmade silk panels of a lighter shade of teal, embroidered with chocolate. They flow from an oil rubbed bronze rod with ornate finials at the ends.

In the corner, beside the massive, granite-topped dresser, is a plush chair. It, too, is another shade of velvety teal with raised, light brown designs. I couldn’t make out the design in the darkness that filled the room, the same darkness that filled my mind.

The large, flat screen television was on, but I was lost in far away thoughts, and near in others.

Who knew when I designed the ornate living quarters for Mom years before that she would be killed and I would be living in what had been meant for her.

I felt her presence, and my Father’s, with me as my mind drifted here and there. I thought of how material items had filled my life in the attempt to run from the emptiness I had felt for years, and the harshly spoken words which, not only I, but several of the children, had endured for far too long.

I wondered why it had taken me so long to leave the situation I had been in, and it was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being unworthy, fear of even making true friends.

But I had finally gained the strength from within; possibly from the talks I had with my father after mom was killed and before he died.

I can still hear his words ringing in my ears, “Teri, I don’t like the way I hear you spoken to, I don’t like the way I see you treated, I didn’t like seeing you manipulated when you came to see us, and the tears you shed when plans that had been agreed upon were tossed aside, your family was tossed aside, and most of all you’re tossed aside, you walk on eggshells. Pain pierced my soul to watch you in such anguish. Teri, all that I’ve seen in the last few years are not signs of a healthy relationship. You need to think of what your future holds. Take these words of your father and think on them, just as I will ask your brother to do, for he is in the same situation, only reversed. I don’t like seeing my children mistreated. You’re not the only ones suffering; my grandchildren are as well, and as a result your mother and I have been. The decision is not mine to make, but rather yours to reflect upon, but my choice is that you seriously think of your future, what I see in it is not good. I cannot take seeing more tears of pain and uncertainty fall from your eyes.”

I was awake most of last night replaying the talks I had with my father for those 13 months we had alone together after Mom was killed. How, I wondered, could he see what I could not?

Now I know, he had lived them through us, my brother and me. A parent feels what their child feels, and is astute enough to see what their child cannot, will not see.

In his grief over losing my mother he was free to speak, he longed to speak for he knew his time was near and the words he had inside needed to be spoken. He felt an urgent need to tell me what he saw, not only with my marriage, but with my brother’s as well. He was right, he always was and I was too stubborn, as I always had been, or more aptly, too afraid, to recognize the signs myself.  

Thank you Dad for your wisdom. It’s what has carried me this far, and I know it will not be in vain. The words of your wisdom will help me soar, will guide me through space and time, only this time you will be piloting me instead of the jets you flew all of your life. Your most important task, as you put it, was to make sure I was happy, my brother was happy, and that I was safe.

Dad, I am finally safe. My mental state will come around in time, and the “conditioning,” as you put it, will become a thing of the past, and I will use it to help guide others in the same situation.

Daddy, I thank you for your pearls of wisdom, and your strength to tell me. I’m sorry it took me so long to see what you were referring to, but I did. I did before I knew cognitively, my body and heart knew something was wrong, my mind, however, took more time.

I love you now, I loved you then, and I feel your guidance, and you were right, I have to endure those that don’t, won’t, understand, for the journey is not theirs to understand, only mine. 

With love and respect, your daughter,


joanne August 2, 2015 at 8:07 PM  

Oh Teri, so painfully beautiful your words, your father's words. I wish I had the ability to put into words the emotions I feel reading this. You are such a strong woman, a wonderful example and such an inspiration. I thank you.

The Bipolar Diva August 8, 2015 at 8:54 PM  

thank you Joanne. When I look back at all the things he would tell me, I feel so stupid now. but the timing was right I guess.

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