Anniversary of My Father’s Death

The week of my father’s yarzeit, anniversary of his death.

The passage of time has not revealed who he was to me.

I can list 5 things he liked:

cream filled doughnuts
the Hudson River
money
being right
Ancient Greece

and 5 things he didn’t:

sushi
racism
carpenter bees
Valentine’s Day
crossing a border

In the last years of his life, he was diminished by age, dementia, a stroke, aphasia.

I can’t discount those years and just remember him young.

I wanted his approval—and both got it and didn’t—until the need itself wore out.

He was the only father I’ll ever have. Basically, that is the truth of the situation that remains.

The haiku poet Issa wrote:

Mountains seen also
by my father, like this,
In his winter confinement. (Translation by R.H. Blythe)

The haiku seems to be saying we can’t actually know another person, but maybe just experience together.

mist hangs over
snow mountains my father
never saw

walking stick in snow
how vigorous my father
was at my age

old man
stroked, afraid
of the spring breeze

juncos in snow
he liked them too—
my father

Ties That Bind

I have two of the necessary parts for this project.

The text:

Ties That Bind

When I was a teenager, I’d hide in my father’s cedar closet and try on his ties—around my waist as a sash, around my forehead as a hippie headband.
I was sixty years old when he died. I took three of his ties without telling anyone , cut them up, and knitted them along with wire, yarn, lace, string, and scraps into mourning pieces.
Did I ever truly know him? His ties were narrow.When they went out of fashion he held on to them, waiting for the style to come back in. And they did, although by then he no longer wore ties or anything formal.
He was many people, more than I am. I can’t tell if he knew who I was.

AND the three knit (no purl) pieces:

img_1167img_1165IMG_1362IMG_1363IMG_1364IMG_1365IMG_1366

Now I need to figure out how to “frame it.” A fabric book? A scroll? Or?