My Dad- a memorial, through a glass darkly

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This Memorial Day, I’d like to honor my Dad. I didn’t know him well – his time in Korea at the DMZ changed him forever, and it was difficult for him to maintain a normal civilian life. It’s likely he became involved in drugs in the Army, and when I was quite young, became an alcoholic and one night, left my Mom with two small children, and attempted suicide. Later in his life he did his best with marriage and family life again, but never succeeded for long.

Eventually, he disappeared, about the time I was 14. We think he was living in the Southwest somewhere, California or Las Vegas, involved in shady deals just to survive. He was a great salesman, very charismatic… but by the time I was a teen, somewhat delusional. At the time, I really didn’t understand it fully, though I dreamed of his return like any young girl.

We never did find out what happened to him. Like others in the family, I went through a period where I wanted to know, intensely. But his parents and sisters before me, and my Mom and Grandfather had already tried, using private investigators and every other means they could think of. It was known that he had various identities, and that made it harder. We can only assume he is no longer living, a victim of alcohol or life on the street.

I understand him better now – in many ways I wish I could sit down and talk with my father of the past, and assure him that I never judged him, that I understand. I hope wherever he is, he knows I love him. I post this today for all those whose lives and families have become irrevocably altered by their time in the services, in ways that no-one ever talks about.

Through the travail of the ages
Midst the pomp and toil of war
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.

I have sinned and I have suffered
Played the hero and the knave
Fought for belly, shame or country
And for each have found a grave.

So as through a glass and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names — but always me.

So forever in the future
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter
But to die again once more.

– General George Patton, spoken by the Eternal Soldier

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2 thoughts on “My Dad- a memorial, through a glass darkly

  1. judithornot says:

    What a wonderful memorial, Teresa, for your dad and “for all those whose lives and families have become irrevocably altered by their time in the services, in ways that no-one ever talks about.” Your blog has a tendency to make to think about things, and this entry is consistent. Thank you, and thank you for sharing.

  2. Freesparrow says:

    Yes, I appreciate your openness in speaking of your father and what he meant to you.

    My father was also affected by war and lost his closest friends. He would never speak of them or his grief. He married during the war (WW II) and all his children were born afterwards. He was a good provider and a sensitive man, although of us experienced him differently.

    I wasn’t close to him, although he had a profound impact on my life. 14 years after his death, when my own life seemed to be falling apart, he spoke to me through a medium and something else occurred which I feel sure was a sign of love. This was quite unexpected. So the story hadn’t ended when I thought it had. Spiritual connections have a way of manifesting when least expected.

    I hope one day, there is some resolution for you in the sense of knowing more about your father, but thank you once more for this account. Many blessings to you, Teresa.

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