In order to understand the Addendum, please read my post “Moving from Twilight to Darkness”.
Ever since I posted “Moving from Twilight to Darkness”, I worry if I painted an incorrect picture of my father. I question if I am too sharp with my words or a bit quick painting the picture you see. Sometimes I think that I time and judged him too quickly because there were isolated times my father tried to be a part of my life, but I was resistant.
Unfortunately, I only remember my father since I was three years old. These memories are following his accident when he lost a hand in a corn picker. My mother always told me that he changed a great deal in the first days after the accident and maybe that is why when he returned home I began carrying an anger towards him, but I don’t think I will ever know why I, a three year old could be angry enough to stab his leg with a lead pencil.
I can only remember that my father asked me if I wanted a piece of cake and my mother was sick in bed. My memory of him that night is vivid as he stood by the counter with a blue work shirt on with the tails on the outside and a white bandage wrapping his left arm at the stub. In addition, I sat tightly curled up at the end of the sofa and I can see and feel the impact of the pencil. To this day, no one else has a memory of what I did, because my determination to be quiet; but I feel the anger and the decision to strike myself and I feel the pain. I also know it was an immediate reaction of mine to hide what I did! The lead from the pencil stayed with me until I was in my mid thirties; no one ever knew.
Other memories of my relationship come to mind, many warranted and I think a few that were not. By the time, in my late twenties, that I wanted revisit those events my memory of them could not let me know the why, only the action.
I think the reason I think badly of the picture I paint in my post is that I didn’t share how he functioned at particular times when I was older. If he had served in Vietnam, rather than in the Navy in WWII, eventually after diagnose his return he would have with the post traumatic stress disorder. In front of people, at the dinner, or when ever he could he spoke of his time in service; the stories never extended into his feelings or reactions to war. When alone, my father recanted aloud the bloodiest of details, his reactions and his fears. As a teenage I remember so many times looking for him and finding him in a cornfield, or a remote corner of some farm building talking to and answering himself. I never bothered him, but returned to my mother to let her know where he was.
As I look back on what I wrote I know it is true; I think, though, there are details about my father that I didn’t consider during my time with him and it is something that I can do now as I remember him. I feel that because he and I were in such a different relationship when he died, that by just presenting him as I did was only incorrect because I didn’t include the other details about him and allowed you to decide for yourself and let me go forward without regret.