Listening to Celtic music today.
Never a good idea.
My dad was Irish. Or at least he claimed to be. Said he came from there. Spoke with just a hint of an Irish Brogue. No one ever knew when he told the truth though.
But the songs. Oh, the songs he sang. There are some things you never forget.
Loch Lomond, Molly Malone, Irish Lullaby, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, Banks of Red Roses, Danny Boy… So many more.
He had a gorgeous Irish tenor that created visions of calm, feelings of peace and just wrapped you up in the richness of it.
Unfortunately, that beautiful Irish tenor was coupled with a not-so-beautiful Irish temper.
Eventually, the wounds he had suffered throughout the years took him over completely… and I lost my dad to the darkness. One day, I just didn’t know who this man was; the awful, angry, violent man that had replaced my loving father. And now, I’m not even truly sure if he is alive or dead.
I won’t lie. Looking back at my past, I think we might have been better off if he hadn’t been around at all. If the years of suffering and abuse had never existed.
But somewhere in me is still the little girl who would have done anything to hear a word of praise from him.
And when I listen to “his” music, I feel like maybe, just maybe I have become the woman I am meant to be. Or at least I am on my way there.
And I can embrace this beautiful life, and the small, wonderful memories that remind me of the real man I knew before he was devoured by his demons.
He made a cardboard fireplace once, just so we could hang stockings on it.
He made the girls tiaras and scepters once so we could feel like real princesses.
He chased us around the house and perpetuated constant tickle wars.
He cooked incredible food.
He was a Martial Arts master who was revered by many.
He could paint like you wouldn’t believe.
His handwriting was beautifully old-fashioned, all narrow and loopy. I loved his notes.
He told stories as only a true Irishman can, weaving in all the details until you found yourself right there in the middle of it.
And he sang. He sang all the time when we were young.
Those are the memories I choose to focus on. That is how I choose to remember him.
So, thank you to the man who created me.
I hope that wherever you found yourself in this world, you found peace. I hope that you fought with all you had to overcame the devil within you. And I hope you know that you are forgiven.
I can see the real you now. Hidden though you were behind your scars.
I love you, daddy.