Memories to wash away the pain…
Disclaimer: this post contains difficult subject matter.
My father was always the rock in my life that I could lean on for support, advice, strength, and love. One of my fondest memories growing up as a child was him tucking me into bed and singing Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. The song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. Even now, the nuances and powerful lessons of this simple, yet subtle song that my father used to teach me resilience are not lost on me. Perhaps as a kid I was more enamoured at times by its ability to calm me down and help me sleep. However, even if only subconsciously, that song engrained in my mind a message I can take to heart as an adult, in a world and time very different from that more innocent one of my youth.
But there’s one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me
Won’t defeat me
It won’t be long ‘till happiness steps up to greet me
Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying’s not for me
‘Cause, I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining
Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me
Little did I know my father — in his own gentle way — was shaping my own resilience to the adversity that life often tests us with. Chiseling away the cracked and weak points that hopefully one day I could be my own rock after he’s gone. Ironically my own name, Peter, is derived from the Greek word Petros, meaning “stone.” https://www.behindthename.com/name/peter He himself was no stranger to that same adversity, having lost his father as a young teenager and having to start working to earn income for his whole family. Of the many strengths of character he possessed, arguably his greatest was to never give up. Stubborn as an ox, and immovable as a mountain when he set his mind to something he believed in, or that was the right thing to do.
Unsurprisingly, as if my father could peer into an already written future, my own life has also tested my resolve. My resilience. My willpower to never, ever give up. Admittedly it wasn’t always easy, and unknowingly I had forgotten those powerful words reminding me to keep my chin up even in the face of profound sadness. There was a time I hid my pain, smothering it in my own blanket of stubbornness. I guarded myself from everything and everyone, and my heart fractured. And through those cracks bled long days and nights of tears. Mired deep in depression, everything even remotely resembling the happiness that childhood lullaby espoused felt fleeting and completely beyond my reach.
I almost gave up.
To this day, I don’t know exactly what conscious or subconscious spark rekindled my resolve in that moment to not commit the unthinkable. At the time my mind was racing, and my mental clarity was nothing short of a blur. Yet something reached through to my very core, and told me this wasn’t right. I’d like to think in the back of my mind somewhere, somehow, those lyrics my father sang to me so long ago acted as the rocks that broke the wave. The one that tried to sweep me out to sea to be lost forever.
Here I am many years later, finding myself once again remembering this song and drawing upon its wisdom to carry me through. My father is not doing well, and the end I know is likely near weighs heavily on me. I took the opportunity to visit him today and say the words that needed to be said. Expressing the love, the pride, the joy of having him as a father, and that same joy of being his son. I said goodbye in case it was the last time I could tell him. And while he’s currently unresponsive, I hoped with every fibre of my being that he knew I was there and heard my voice. That somehow, in the deepest depths of the mind that we may never truly comprehend, he understood me.
And as I sat there in his quiet room and watched him sleeping peacefully, I sung ”Raindrops” in my head. In some ways it was to comfort myself once again, though my heart be breaking. Even more so, it was a reminder that the man laying there before my eyes was still that same incredible father that taught me to keep fighting. To stay strong and positive when things get difficult. To always look for that happiness to step up and greet me once again.
To never give up.
I don’t yet know how I’m supposed to feel, nor how I’m supposed to process the emotions that flood my conscience. I’ve already missed my father greatly as he slowly started being taken away from me over the past few years. It hurt to see him like that, and it will hurt even more when he’s gone. Now, more than ever, I remember the raindrops that fall on my head. I cherish the happy memories of that peaceful lullaby sung to me by an incredible father that lived a long and vibrant life.
Memories, and raindrops, that will wash away the pain.