Confessions of a father .......

My Father......

In those years , there was no way to know what was right or wrong , there were no text books on father and son relationships , there was only reality and quite often the reality of that very moment was the only teacher , the only parent , the only guidance in a young boys life . And I believe that there have always lain dormant , a long list of terms that can describe any relationship between fathr and son .

And , that the first rule on that list is that no matter what you love and respect your father and mother , good , bad or indifferent and this rule had to stand alone , there is no deviation from this rule , no addendum's, there are no exceptions to this rule , nor amendments , you didn't take a vote , a majority didn't rule . hell,...... nothing mattered but that you love , listen and honor your parents . But then , that was the old way , today , well lets just say things are different .

Anyway , me and my father were at odds and as I stood basicly alone in the difficult years of teenage-hood , morally lost , mis-guided , influenced by an increasingly volatile and demoralizing peer pressure group called "the sixties ", he remained ever and increasingly an alcoholic , a functioning one but still an alcoholic . My father was a world war two infantryman , a war hero who saw unbelievable horrors in war ,he was haunted by the many atrocities of war and for that alone , in our home , we tip-toed around him , figuratively and literally .

That day though ,we sat separated by the stick shift lever of an old pick up and in many ways the shifting lever symbolized the many ,many difficult gaps in understanding between father's and son's. I was sixteen and in turmoil , I despised him , resented his ways , I was ashamed of him , resentful of the reputation that he had developed over the years , the duality of a persons reputation was confusing to my small mind . Everyone outside of our home loved him , they told stories , one after another of his exploits at work , at home , in "the war " most people really looked up to my father , except me perhaps .

You see , to me , he was the man who I helped up the stairs at night , who I helped up off the ground in the yard , after he had driven home and fallen out of the truck unable to walk, because he was too drunk . Or having to lift him up out of his chair at night because he drank himself into a stupor . My mother saying ,"We have to put your father to bed " still echoes in my mind .

The reality of the moment played out like this , he sat in the passenger side of the truck , so that he could drink while I drove . After all , you can't have a drunk driver on the road , especially if he has a teenage son with a brand new licence to drive . He had said to pull over beside the road at his favorite hiding place from home . There he could drink for awhile without the usual hassles of a nagging wife , or boss , or anyone .

"Son , I know you don't think much of me do you !....I know you hate my drinking ....But I have my reasons to drink" , .....and with that he would raise his hand to swallow another drink , .....
When he got like this , he would begin to recall many of his memories of battle , often describing in graphic detail the loss of friends , the horrors of war , or the morbid recollections of the aftermath of a firefight . Today though there would come one more story of his past .
"
"The day before I was eight years old ......I shot and killed my own father "!......and with that confession , as his voice broke down , he began to re sight from memory a shocking reality that I had never heard before .
He went on ,

"My father had just ridden' the old hay wagon inside the big old barn doors , .....I had jumped down off the wagon at the house and gone inside to tell my mother we were home , ....when I ran back out to go down to the stalls and help bed down the big Belgian work horses , our neighbor pulled into the driveway , He handed me a shotgun that he had borrowed from my father and said ,Here ,Take this down and give it to your father , I'm in a hurry ".......

"When I swung open the barn door and went inside , I saw my father taking the harness' of one of the horses , getting ready to feed them some grain . I held the shotgun in my arms , but as I went around the big horse , I must have pulled the trigger somehow , because all I can remember was the loudest bang coming from the shotgun and my father sliding to the floor gripping the horses reigns" ..........my fathers voice was weak now ,and breaking , he reached up and wiped the tears from his face with the back of his hand ,
"I guess the neighbor hadn't bothered to unload the shotgun "........he said .

All I could ask was , "Did he die there" ? ........looking at my father with the shock of a new found understanding ......

"Well we carried him up to the house and my mother went to retrieve the doctor , but Yes .......by the time anyone came back , he was dead I guess , the doctor wasn't able to do anything , the load of buckshot had hit him in the upper back of his shoulder ..... he never said another word before he died ."........

With that confession , I had gained a new understanding of my Father and of his own personal failures in life , at least to understand or cope with himself and his life , I also learned that no matter what others think of us or of our reputations , that it's whats inside our hearts and minds , is all that really matters , ever !. But , in the coming to understand the relationship between us , I became far , far more tolerant of him . And maybe he felt better about "us " too. And , as with many of the confessions of my father , this one helped me to understand how he could not "love ", like I needed him to at the time .

Rest in peace my Father , I love you ...........

And I share this , that we might remember , none of are perfect and we don't live perfect lives . I am lucky that my Father and I came to love and respect each other long ,long before he died . And that no matter what tragedies occur in life , we can overcome them !



Happy memorial day !




Comments 5 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Truly an amazing story. I shall remember it and it shall help to remind me not to be so quick to judge. And to hug my sons today and everyday.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas

Wow, Ed, that's an incredible story; it's very moving. I like the way you set it up with the symbolism of the stick shift.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 3 years ago Author

Eric , Thats it my friend ! Learning the love curve takes a lifetime !. The hugs ......awesome idea !


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 3 years ago Author

Shan , True story Shan, my father was quite a man ! I miss him today , be well my dear and hold those babies close ....:-}


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas

I figured it might be true, but that just makes it all the more moving.

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