Hello, friends. Today's post is a follow-up to the most recent Freewrite Friday exercise. I want to thank everyone who has emailed to let me know how the process is going for you. Remember, if you post your exercise on your blog, let me know, and I'll share the link to it here.
I also want to say a special thanks to Georgie, who shared her letter with me and gave me permission to post it here today:
To my dearest father,
How do I begin? You are a stranger to me, yet I hold you so dearly in my heart. When I think of you I imagine a young man, fit and happy and in love. I see you in charge of your polo crosse horse. I see your young family. I see you working hard, any job, to give us our future. I see me. But not for long. I remember nothing from our lives together only from our lives apart. Our paths split so early in my life and I search so desperately for something of you to hold onto that is mine, something other than photos I've seen or the memories of others.
My visits to you were always so brief. Beach holidays in cheap, musty houses; playing in your office while you worked, I was so proud of you to have 'Manager' on your door, I really thought you would be okay with that as your name; or a visit to one of your many flats. I still think of you when I have barbecue shapes or a sip of fruit cup cordial. They were such treats. I remember my last visit to you in that last flat. I remember how you greeted me at the door when we knocked. You nearly winded me with your embrace but, as strong as it was, I remember you trembling. I remember your arms, thick with dark hair, gripping my shoulders, not wanting to let go. I sat watching you smoke as I played with that one broken tile on the table top. I helped myself to a drink in your tiny kitchen, water was my only option. I was too young for any of that beer. How many calories of that amber ale did you burn thinking your dark thoughts? Oh my dear father, could I have said something? Could I have stayed longer? Could I have called more? Could I have saved you? But I was so young. I didn't know a grown up mind could give up. I thought I would be visiting you forever and playing with that broken tile wherever you lived. But that was your last flat. I see you now in the dark of night with that weapon in your hand and no life in your soul. Oh my dear father. What could I have done?
I weep for you still, 14 long years later. Hard, long, breathless sobs for all that we've lost. I was just 18 when Mum told me. I was just settled at university, just independent. Five years it took me to be able to tell my friends where you were without my hands shaking. He died was all I could manage before loosing eye contact. They asked nothing more. My pain was like an invisible finger pressing their lips to hush.
Your picture hangs in my home now. Your wedding picture. It's black and white and full of promise. How old would you be now? I'm not sure. I hold you in my heart as a young man with a young family, full of hope and future.
Your darling daughter,