Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Donald Lewis Filan 1931-2010

My parents divorced when I was nine: I barely saw my father after 1974.  He married his second wife soon after his divorce from my mother became final, and they have been together since that time.  I carried my grief and my anger about their separation for a very long time.  Sometimes I blamed my mother, sometimes I blamed my father: more often I blamed both.

By the time I finally came to some sort of terms with my loss my mother was dead and my father long established in a new family.  We had gone from estranged to strangers: while we made a few halting and painful efforts at re-establishing some sort of relationship, they never amounted to anything. When love and grief become too painful, you learn to lock them up and keep them safe.  One grows accustomed to absence: it is so much more reliable and predictable than presence.  And so both of us continued on with the families we had chosen, doing the best we could with what we had.

We touched upon that a bit in our last conversation, a little over a year ago.  We knew by then that the distance between us was insurmountable. But we no longer blamed each other for the rift.  The anger was gone and the hurt had long since faded to a dull ache.

Rest in peace, Dad.  I am glad we made it to absolution even if we could never find our way back to love.