"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Healing happens in all sorts of ways .......I have been trying to heal for the last 6 months . I will never fully be back to where I was at the beginning of 2006 but I am somewhat better since the middle of the summer. This past week I decided to take a step towards some type of closure. I spent some time this week in my home town of Tuskegee ,Alabama. Thomas Wolfe said in his novel "Look Homeward Angel" that you cant go home again . I believe that you can go home. I think we often get so caught up in the daily dealings of life that we forget where we are from........Where our roots are. My roots are deep in Macon county. During the last 8 years when I have returned for some reason or another I have always had this deep feeling of discontent. You see, Tuskegee is not the town it was when I was growing up. There is no one really left from when I was there. The stores are all closed. The homes where people I knew are all run down or gone.
My main purpose of this visit was to say goodbye. To say goodbye to my Daddy. I have been trying and trying to think of something that I could do to bring this closure. I went to Tuskegee for a few hours this week and my Daddy went with me.
I went to my old school .....the house I first lived in when I came home from the hospital.....my Nana's house,my old church, our old business and our house in the country. It was a odd feeling to stand in the church that I grew up in to sit on the pew that I last sat in nearly 13 years ago at my Grandaddys funeral . It was a catharsis. I cried. I saw my Daddy in each of those places. I talked to him and I told him that it was time for me to put some things behind me and to move forward with my life. I have lived with a huge regret for the past 6 months. A regret that I did not get to speak to my Daddy before he had his surgery. Would I have said anything profound to him? Highly unlikely. I would have hugged him and told him I loved him and that things would be ok. I truly believe that my Daddy knew deep down that he would not ever be coming home again. I also think he was prepared for that and had made some type of peace. I have also made a peace. I dont fool myself into believing that things are gonna be all roses from now on. We will have some hard days ahead.... Then the holidays . But life will be better. We will remember and laugh .....we will tell his grandsons how much they were loved by their "Ga".....For me it's now about remembering the things that happened.....The past events that made us a family. I will no longer deal in a "what if" world. Those days are gone. Trying to imagine him here with us does me no good. He is gone, but the memory of him, is as strong as an anchor on a ship.
I went to Tuskegee to say goodbye to that part of me . Perhaps no one will ever really understand what I have done, or why I did it this week. Most of the reasons are still inside me and that's cool.....that's where it belongs. Those things I am keeping for myself. I did it for my reasons and my reasons alone.
I spent a very small part of Friday afternoon doing the last thing I felt I needed to finally do.... I went back to his grave. I stood there for a few minutes and said my last goodbye. I did not go alone and I appreciate my friend and his willingness to go with me . It is very unlikely that I will go back there much in the future. My Daddy lives on with me . I see him in myself everytime I go to a restaurant......when I look at my nephews.....and dozens more.
I went home this past week and I said goodbye. The page has turned .