Chasing Shadows

The whole time I was waiting for you to learn your lesson about joy,
I wasn’t learning my own about
Letting go.
You kept yourself in darkness and gloom while I chased after your spirit.
Believing I could use my light to create yours.
But all I did was exhaust myself
In your storm of shadows.
You would glance back now and then,
I would take it as a sign
To keep trying.
But you were only hoping I had
Realized not to chase a shadow,
Not to try to change another,
But to stop in my own path,
And shine.

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A Letter from my dad…written by me

Do you remember that day I sat at the table, head in hands?

When you told me “you’re a good man dad”

I replied “I don’t know”

Hi

I know it’s kind of late

And I should have told you then

I should have and I would have if I only could have

You meant the world to me

You lit up the room

Your little face so full of hope

Your courage to show sun in that room of dark and gloom

Why didn’t I let you get to me with your light

Your hope that I’d be happy that day…or the next, or the next

You kept a smile for me.

I know it was hard to put it on when all around was ugly

Ugly words dripping from the walls to the floor

Leaving piles of muck years and years old

Your feet would drag with all their mite to get through

Cuz maybe that day, things would be different

But it never would be

I couldn’t be who you wished me to be

The Steve Martin dad who lit up for his daughter

That look that let her know how proud he was

She was good enough

She was so much more

And you were, my little strawberry banana shortcake baby

Do you remember that day I sat at the table, head in hands?

When you told me “you’re a good man dad”

I replied “I don’t know”

I know I didn’t deserve your resilience

I can imagine what you should have said to me

I want you to know I’m sorry

I want to tell you that I wish I could have said I’m sorry

Started fresh

Given you all what you deserved

A place to be loved and feel happy

A place that was kind, respectful and peaceful

A home where you were sure of yourself and how wonderful you are.

Instead you woke up each morning and listened ….waiting to hear my voice

Would I be ok

Would I be screaming and nasty

Would my face already be twisted with anger,

Shrieking toxic hate

Either way you would face each day and try so hard to be everything you could to somehow fix me and make me happy and proud of all of us.

I wish you had known to save your energy for better things.

Nothing you could do would have made a difference

I’m sorry you wore yourself out giving from an empty bucket

I thank God your mom is who she is

Through all my rage she showed you care and love

She made you feel important and special despite being torn down each day

Where did she find the endless well to water what I left to die in the drought

I’ll never be able to repair the damage I did

I poured that thick cloud of disgust on everything our family did

In the best of days I could throw a match that would burn every good thing out of every good moment

I had a skill with rancid words like no other

I am sorry

I wanted so much to be the man you could still see in me

I was in there, but my dear girl, somehow along my path I lost him and my anger grew like a wildfire

I know you don’t understand where it came from.

I know you wish you could

But no matter the why or how of it, one thing is certain

My family deserved better

I love you

I’m proud of you

I’m sorry