Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Father's Brown Baby and Me

I had already been up for two hours this particular morning when 7 o'clock neared and suddenly I was ready to return to bed.  Sleep overcame me as I held the small brown doll from my father's childhood.  I had reached for something else on the shelf when the doll's arm fell to the floor.  I gently replaced the arm and was reminded of how I ignore her. 

As best I recall, I got her when my grandmother died in 1981 and sadly my father never knew I had her.

After Nashville's flood a few years ago, I found her again in a trunk from my childhood, a trunk that had protected her all those years still protected her from the rain water in which the trunk floated.   My father's brown baby has been on a shelf in my office ever since.

My intention this morning was to sit and be with the heart-shaped template filled with rocks that I found the day we went to look for my father's grave marker.  Instead I sat holding this doll and as I did I felt heavy with sleep.

It was all I could do to sit up. Was I in some way sensing the energy of my father as he fell asleep with this doll at night or was this the energy of my grandmother who sewed this dear doll's little dress?  Such heaviness my grandmother must have felt, abused and controlled by my grandfather.  It was only after my father's death that I began to really wonder what he had seen between his parents.  Did this doll belonging to my dad provide comfort for his young fears at night in bed?  I wish I had asked him if he ever stood between his parents as his father shouted at his mother the way I stood between my grandparents once.

I wish I had really known my grandmother.  I wish I had asked questions, even simple ones like:  How was it growing up in your family? Why did you quit driving?  And then there were the questions I didn't know to ask when she was alive like: How was it living so near your family yet forbidden by the man you married to visit them?

The home in which I visited my grandparents is now gone. I was devastated to see the structure had been leveled years ago. All that remains is the stone stack of the chimney that was attached to the fireplace.  I can still see glowing embers as the black metal door was opened to lay in more logs.

The outer structure was leveled yet the inner structure lives on.  The unspoken rules around not asking questions, not inquiring of much of anything other than 'Can I help with dinner?' the rules that kept us from being personal and not rocking the boat, the rules that protected us from vulnerability, those rules live on.  Those rules erected walls between us keeping us from one another, but also created walls within keeping me from myself and I didn't even know it.  The inner devastation has been profound and for that I feel very sad.

I awoke early this morning thinking about how hard it has been to let myself be loved, I mean really be loved.  In this way I am my father's brown baby, symbolic of his disowned self, his feeling, needing, wanting to be loved yet contained, controlled, frightened and controlling self.

This morning before the sun rose, before I rediscovered my father's doll, I went outside.  I lay on Mother Earth face down and as I did I heard:  "Let your brown body be loved by my brown body.  Let your brown body love my brown body for I too know separation, isolation and loneliness.  I know what it's like to be neglected, unloved"

Today we refer to the devastation of Earth in relation to the mistreatment and neglect of the land yet this morning I suddenly realized this shouldn't be surprising.  How could humankind treat Earth any other way when there's been such unacknowledged devastation and neglect of our insides, our inner terrain.

I write of Mother Earth and Nature for that is where I feel most connected, alive and loved yet there is a level in me and I sense in Earth, a level unexplored desiring to be held, trying to get my attention like my Father's brown baby within that I have so ignored.

-Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse,
14 June 2014 and 15 May 2012

1 comment:

Kathy Plourde said...

My life experience is similar....don't ask and don't and don't tell...