Ode to my Dad
What I Am Left With
Walter Gretzky died two days before my Dad.
They were both born in 1938. Other than that,
they had almost nothing in common.
My Dad and me also had very little in common
except our first names
and our last
the propensity to drink
as a means of dealing with anxiety
and a deep and abiding love in Jesus Christ.
My childhood was a hopeless struggle, founded
on pleasing my Dad, protecting my Mom
and becoming the next Wayne Gretzky.
My Dad was deeply damaged.
He was torn between trying to save us
from this damage and sharing how it felt.
Finally, we became
a family, found the courage
to leave the source of our abuse.
I started to live my life
and make my own mistakes
and then, eventually, become sane.
Decades later, after
a few vain attempts to make peace
I found out my Dad was very ill.
I couldn't go see him.
In the times of Covid, 5 provinces away
it just wasn't possible.
From decades gone by
the distance may as well have been
a million miles, even in the same room.
My Dad died.
The pain he felt and the pain he inflicted
cannot be reconciled.
I never got to tell him how much he hurt me.
I never got to say I forgave him.
I never got to say goodbye.