Friday, December 19, 2014

The Reflection of Shadows: My Father's Voice

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
The Boyfriend and I recently saw The Theory of Everything, a movie about Stephen Hawking's life and his relationship with his first wife, Jane. The movie was beautiful and the acting was insanely good, but the thing that made me pull out the tissues to dry up my eyes was the same thing that got me when I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: the resemblance to my father.

My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) and by the time I was three he was almost entirely immobile. When I was four he had to be whisked away to the hospital in the middle of the night in the worst snowstorm we'd ever had. I distinctly remember the rescue team carrying him over the tree that had fallen across the bridge in our yard, blocking the exit to the ambulance. From that night on, my dad spent the rest of his life in a nursing home.

Because my dad had such an advanced level of M.S. it was impossible for him to even speak. We used an alphabet board to converse with him, having him blink when we had hit the right letter, slowly piecing all the letters together to form words and, eventually, sentences. It was long and arduous and not nearly as impressive as the very similar yet slightly different methods both movies portrayed with their own version of the alphabet board. Although I know it's silly, anytime I see something remotely better than what we had to work with I feel equally angry and jealous.

When I was 14 (that was a big year for me and life and poetry, if you haven't already figured that out) I ran across an old VHS tape. In it, I heard my father speak to a one-year-old me at my one-year-old birthday party. Outside of watching that video, I have no memory of his voice in person. It was a surreal and other worldly moment, like listening to a ghost speak to you for the first time.

I hope all of you take the time to appreciate and love the people in your life. Not just now, because it's the holiday season and we all seem to be a little more thankful and grateful and kind, but because you never know when your life will change. You never know when your yesterday's will become wishing wells you throw your silent prayers into, collecting each and every plead for a second chance that you'll never be given again.

Singing Birds - Society6
My Father's Voice

My father’s voice was proud and strong,
Within it rang confidence, strength, and song.
It was deep and clear and demanded truth,
It held no lies and it longed for youth.
My father’s voice was stolen away
By the dark of the night, by the light of the day.
It was stolen by the wind and blown into the sky,
Never to be heard again, set free to fly.
His voice was soothing, his tone was calm,
It echoes through my mind, it echoes through the walls.
It can drive a person crazy, it can calm a baby’s cry,
It left his soul so fast that I couldn’t say goodbye.
I hear it in my sleep, in my dreams it fills my mind,
It whispers through my music, it screams throughout all time.
It was taken by the sunlight, as the sun shall rise and set,
I will try and try to catch it for it knows it owes me debt.
I’ll not give up my fight and I’ll listen for the noise
Of the whispering and echoing of my father’s voice.

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