I recently finished a writing class that I had the opportunity to take with a group of amazing teachers from all over the area where I live. As a part of this class, we were given dedicated time to go and “Just Write.” There were no guidelines, no rules…just write.
At the beginning we were asked to brainstorm a list of things that we thought we might like to write. That is where this journey begins…
I placed on the list a letter, a few letters in fact. Letters than cannot be sent anymore because you cannot post letters to Heaven – I missed my chance to tell them in person. But, that doesn’t mean that those things have to remain unsaid.
I’ve completed one letter so far…to my Dad.
I sit once again to write the letter that I have tried to write before. I sit for a long time…nothing happens.
I come to the realization that I can’t write the letter that I want to write because I can’t remember what goes in it anymore.
I can’t remember…
The feel of your hands. Did you ever touch me?
The sound of your voice. What was the last thing you said to me?
The smell of your skin. You wore Old Spice – what was the scent?
Your favorite color. Did you have one? I don’t think we ever talked about it.
Your favorite song.It was probably country – but what was the name?
Your favorite food. Was it something Italian? Is that why Mom makes such good lasagna?
I want to remember…
I wonder if I ever asked. I wonder if my memories are just made up interpretations of the things I keep on a shelf in my living room – the only way I have to remember now. I wonder what would be if I would have paid more attention to your advice, or the stories you told, or when you tried to teach me about the things you thought were important. I wonder if I would be able to change a flat tire or change my own oil…Nah, probably not. I wonder if I would remember the names of family members or your brothers and sisters that I never met. I wonder…
The feeling that I squandered a chance to know you sinks deep into my chest – knowing that the rebelliousness of youth changed me from KK – your peanut – into an adversary. I don’t know when that change occurred. I remember sitting on your knee and getting pony rides, then almost overnight that changed to endless arguments. I am heartbroken by the fact that I cannot go back and change it.
I wish that I had come home more often to visit. I wish that I had not used my job and busy life as an excuse to stay away. I wish that money for gas was not a reason I used to separate my life from yours when I moved away. I wish I knew that cancer would rip you away from us with so little time to prepare. I wish I had been able to see what everyone else could see instead of denying the obvious. I wish I would have told you all of these things instead of just writing them in a letter that you’ll never read because I cannot send it where you are.
That is so often how it is at the end of a life – so many questions that lead to no answers. So many regrets – words left unsaid, things left undone – until it was too late. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost twelve years now – a lifetime ago. I still have nights that I lay awake pondering the dreaded if only. If only I knew then what I know now. If only I knew that time would be so short. If only I knew that I would want the chance to change it. If only…
KK (who once again wishes to be peanut)
I hope to continue to write more letters…
Letters to those that I wished I would have been able to find the necessary words to share how I truly felt.