What price our sons will exceed their father’s aspirations? And if they do, is it for him – when they surpass those incomparable limits of fatherhood?
What price our daughters will achieve our unrealized heights of both career and domesticity? And if they do, it’s not for us – but to create their own environment of womanhood.
Bubbling over with harmony and the satisfaction of creation realised.
We let them go. Waiting for them to come back, wanting to share. Knowing that we are aware but they are still alone.
And when they call to say “Hello”, the hunger would overwhelm us all — except that it is our hunger, not theirs. So, we must, of necessity, not let them know the depths of our fear and our love.
We cannot truly be mother, friend, parent and companion as we would wish.
Somewhere, sometime, it’s goodbye while they move on – to a world and time of their own that we will never truly know, while we fear their pain which is still to come.
It may be too much for them to share with us – and in that time we seek the peace of mutual acceptance and understanding.
Perhaps unspoken, but they will know. In silence, my child, simply touch my fingertips and know the truth of parental love.
February 15th, 1997.
I wrote this for my friend Alison, who despaired of her daughter ever resuming their loving and friendly relationship. They are now the best of friends. I read this at my daughter’s funeral, in October 2001. Annette had chronic depression and took her own life, at the age of 34. We had been estranged for several years, for in her illness, she rejected me completely – until the last few weeks before she died. I am truly thankful that all the care and support she received – and that fact that we never closed the door, regardless of how difficult she was to deal with – helped to heal the break between us and that we enjoyed her last days with love and laughter.