I’ve come full circle.
Over the Thanksgiving holidays I will be traveling to British Columbia to hook up with my brother. We will be burying our father’s ashes with our mother in New Westminster, B.C. This is my birth father, the one who abused me for decades.
My brother called me a few weeks ago to tell me he would be back in North America briefly, giving us time to bury Giulio’s ashes. (Turns out it would be Thanksgiving weekend; no turkey for me.) I have been in contact with the funeral home, the pastor and the cemetery to coordinate everything. As usual, where my brother is concerned, I will do anything. Since he travels the world three weeks out of the month, he’s rarely around and doesn’t have the time for such mundane matters.
We will have a small service at the gravesite where we will watch the ashes of our father, Giulio, be buried with Gwen, our mother. They will finally be together. Giulio pined for her ever since she died in 1972. (I pined for her ever since I learned about her in 1978.) Then we will spread some of his ashes along the beach in White Rock, his beloved retirement home. From there, we will take vials to Italy to spread on the family farm with Uncle Luciano, my dad’s brother. In addition, I will keep one vial.
Hence the circle. It’s no secret that my relationship with my birth father was turbulent. It’s no secret that there were times I hated him; yet there was always love there. It truly was a love-hate relationship. Now I’m going to have his ashes.
And you know something? I want his ashes. I’m going to get a small urn and keep them in there. Some might think that’s creepy, but it’s actually very common. Truthfully, I never thought I would want to keep his ashes in my possession. I expected to bury him and be done with it. Just forget. Move on. But with the passage of time, I’ve come to know and understand him more. There is no more hate. There is now a wistfulness for him. A wish that he was still here, obstreperous attitude and all. I miss him.
I want him near me. I miss him. I miss him very much. He was my father. He never held me. He never taught me. He never watched me open the Christmas gifts he purchased. I understand.
I want him near me. I never got to make an awkward Father’s Day gift in school for him. I never got to have him show me how to drive a car. I never got a decent compliment from him. I understand.
The past is over. I’m finally free. I can move on. And I want to move on with him near me. I will remember the good. Only the good. And I will thank God for that. Forever. Because now I can.