My Father was a storyteller, a weaver of tales. He created his life through an intricate weaving of fact and fiction, tying the loose ends of his reality into indelible knots that could never be undone. Where one story began and truth ended, where truth began and another story ended, became so confusing in the tapestry of our lives that I’m not sure my brothers and I will ever truly understand the man that was our Father.
There was little instruction for the men of my Father’s generation in how to be fathers. Heroes that came home victorious from a global War were soon thrust into the very personal war of making money and supporting families. Most of them did the best they could, battling the demons of expectation during the day while battling the demons of War in their nightmares at night. My Father was no exception. For years, he did nightly battle with the demons that had followed him across the ocean and it is my belief that he learned to conquer them, not with the sword but with the pen. Although he found the subject of the War too painful to write about, he took all the ingredients of War, the violence, the evil men, the good men and good women, and wove them into stories where the good always won. His stories became his personal testament that God would always forgive, love would always last and good would always prevail.
His life, however, often strained those very tenets to the near breaking point. He would say the unforgivable, knowing God would forgive. He would push the limits of his family’s love, knowing that in the end our love for him would last. And if he espoused the narrow viewpoint or the critical eye, he seemed to understand that good would at last prevail, even if it prevailed over him.
It has been said that you can never go home again but I don’t believe that. I believe like Maya Angelou that you never actually leave home; you carry it inside of you wherever you go, no matter how long you live. Along with the difficult times of my childhood were many wonderful times shared with my brothers, Mother and Father. I carry those memories with me and they have indeed shaped the person I am today.
My Father wove a tapestry of stories, both confusing and comforting, to wrap around my brothers and myself. They are his legacy. And on those dark chilly nights of life when I am alone and most afraid, I wrap myself in his tapestry and I too believe … that God always forgives, love always lasts and good always prevails.