Father’s Day is always rough for people who have had difficult relationships with their fathers. But this year was particularly difficult for me because of Facebook.
First, I posted my daily haiku as part of a challenge I had take on January 1stto write a haiku a day for a year. Here is what I posted. I called it Father’s Day.
|Shirley and Bill Rosenzweig, 1949|
So I shed some tears yesterday for Bill Rosenzweig born in 1926, died in 1997, who met my mother Shirley Perlstein in 1947, married her in 1949, had their first child, a daughter ( me ) in 1952, another in 1954, a son in 1956 and left his family for another woman in 1963, November 1963 to be exact, the week before Kennedy was assassinated and his children watched in horror as the country’s falling apart mirrored their family’s demise.
This is all old territory for me. I have walked it so long and so many times that my feet have worn trenches in the ground of time I have remained stuck in the past.
I wanted to know, would we be the same age or would we be ageless with no bodies, only our spirits? Would we be as we were in life – distant and unable to cross the distance between us? Would he still be stubborn? Would I still be surly? Would he be sorry for the time he refused to sit next to my mother at my Bat Mitzvah even after I begged him to so we would look like a normal family to my friends? Would I be sorry that I kept my promise to him – the one I had screamed at him the last time he’d hit me that he’d never see his grandchildren? Would he be sorry that his wife had barred me from his funeral and did not include my name in his obituary? Would I be sorry that I told him when I was fifteen that he wasn’t a real man?
My mother used to tell me that my father adored me and that I was his favorite child. This was never said to me in a comforting way. It was more of an accusation. And it only made me feel worse. How could his love for me have turned so far the other way?
In Jungian analysis, when you come upon a place of deep psychological complex and conflict, one is taught to engage in active imagination where you place yourself in a scene in your mind, bring in the person you need to talk to and then let the conversation happen.
There is a man who has written letters to his estranged daughter every week for twenty years. And when he dies, his step son finds these missives, and after realizing what they are, stacks them inside a cardboard box, addresses the box to the old man’s daughter and drops the package off at the post office.