For Crying out Loud

Carnival is in full swing and I am in cold grey England with a heavy heart. I am trying to detach my thoughts from the sun, steelband and soca that I am missing, so the radio is on full volume, the washing machine is humming, and the vibes of old school soul classics have me singing and swaying.

I want nothing to remind me of Carnival. With hands covered in soap suds washing up the pots and pans, I am doing a slow grind as Smokey Robinson croons “it’s just my imagination running away with me, ohh yeah”.

Then the sultry voice of Luther Vandross starts “Back when I was a child, Before life removed all the innocence, My father would lift me high… “ and, in that very moment teardrops slowly start to trickle down, meandering the contours of my face.

Quick, make a decision – Turn off the radio, or face the consequences of listening to the song knowing that it will once again rouse that sharp cutting pain of grief.

Luther sings on “If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him, I’d play a song that would never ever end, How I’d love love love, to dance with my father again”.

Crying out loud, eye water gushing, body convulsing, I hear a voice shouting “Why did you leave us, how could you?”. Luther continues “If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him”.

The pain strikes – a pain like no other; like being stabbed through the heart all the way into the soul. And I hear the voice screaming “Why, Why, Why?” I turn around, do I recognise the voice? Yes of course I do, it belongs to me.

I stop shaking and began to reminisce about the larger than life personality that has left a gaping hole in my life.

My father loved me unconditionally even though he didn’t always show it. He was my mentor but we fell out often; He was proud of me but there was a time when he disowned me; He teased me about having ‘proboscis’ lips but called me his pretty daughter; He hated
going to the doctor yet willingly went if I insisted; and even as his health faded he promised that he would never give up. He would say “I am fighting them, darling, I will battle on”.

I know that in my moments of grief I will continue to chastise him for leaving, but I also know that his time was up – that’s why he left. He did not abandon me.

Luther’s voice ends with “If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him, I’d play a song that would never ever end, cause I’d love love love to dance with my father again”. My father would do whatever it took to protect me from pain, but when my emotions override rationality, I will allow myself to wallow in the all consuming grief, and I will cry out loud knowing that the sharpness of the pain will eventually subside.

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