Our Fathers Brothers and Sons …

The memories of being his daughter can only be shared from the eyes of the child I was. I recall that I held on so tight to his hand when we walked the streets of our neighborhood. Even today, I could see the birds in the trees as they chirped while children played stick ball in the street. The smell of summertime was in the air as we walked to the avenue to get french fries and fried shrimp in a brown paper bag which we ate as we walked back home. I was always amazed at the fun I had with my dad just walking around our neighborhood.

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“Old as she was she still missed her daddy.” -Gloria Naylor

My favorite memory of his was when he walked home from work and I could hear him whistling. These memories are stored in my heart safely from a time that filled me with wonder at the life I lived yesterday. Dad loved Mother Nature and all her beauty. Walking, swimming and being outside fueled his soul. He was nourished by all that She shared with him daily. I learned to respect Her at a young age and to never dirty Her world with paper or gum. Today these thoughts comfort me when I recall the  moments shared with the man I called dad!

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I miss him today mostly on Wednesdays. Why? Well that was the day I visited him weekly for years or at one time he visited me and it was his favorite day of the week. He lived in and out of mental institutions and adult homes for the last thirty years of his life. The day came when he could not put on a front of being normal for my children so he told me, “I can no longer come to your house its too difficult for me to leave my world and enter yours.” Now I know what he meant. Labelled manic-depressant because he attempted suicide he struggled for years to continue being the dad that I adored. My belief is that people who struggle with depression of any kind have had their hearts broken by someone they loved and trusted. I’m positive today that I was loved by him as deeply as I loved him.

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” -George Herbert

He nicknamed me “author!” He believed I was a writer. He encouraged me to write a book about his life. I wrote a spiritual/fictional story about his life that I self-published but today when I reflect on my words I believe it just might have been my life as well. Making Believers: “Connect to the light within…” was in honor of my dad’s life and I showed how once one connects to the light within change is possible. Growth is essential and unconditional love is the key to opening our hearts.

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I am at an age of insight and clarity. My wisdom years one might say. I have discovered the truth in the words that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. My belief is that we are here to learn how to be human beings. What if, we are here to learn the simple lesson of love? When we love we accept and forgive those that we fear. When we love we open our hearts to release love towards others. It is time in life right now to love, forgive and accept that we are all doing the best we can.

“We are here to connect with our soul!” -Linda Amato

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My suggestion to you is to look at the life your father shared with you as if you were still that child and he was the greatest gift on earth to you. Be that small child in awe of a dad that can do anything and do it well. Open your heart to the memories of laughter and fun. What have you learned from your dad that puts a smile on your face?

Be in delight of the times he held your hand maybe crossing the street. Was he the dad that taught you to hunt, fish, ride a  bike or drive a car? Was he the man who showed you how to hold a baseball bat, toss a ball or play hockey? Remember the times when you struggled and he was there to help you stand up again! He may have just come  home on Sunday with an apple turnover just for you! Does seeing an apple turnover today remind you of him? What reminds you today of the dad he once was that puts a smile on your face?

Was he the dad who walked you down the aisle on your wedding or gave a toast in your honor? Was he simply the man you looked up to as your hero and is not capable of being a hero in your eyes today because of illness or death? Are you carrying his fears as your own today? Know its time to release the past and hug tight to your heart the memories of love and joy that you cherished as a child.

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“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” -Reed Markham

My belief is that our fathers have a very difficult time being human because they have been taught to be strong, fearless and not to show their emotions. Dads have fears too! So please be gentle with your dad today and if he no longer shares this world forgive him his fears. As a daughter, wife, sister, and mother there are many men in my life that are fathers today that I cherish. I see the struggle within to express truth because of financial concerns, illness, and having to support their family. As women we expect their strength to support us in all situations but they have to be taught to know its safe to express love and show emotion from a young age. Maybe one day our father, brothers, husbands and sons will shed the tears that bind them.

“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons!” -Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

At one time in my life I wrote many poems when I was struggling with understanding life myself. Poetry helped me heal my fears. Here is one I would like to share that I wrote the year after my dad went home to the spirit world at the age of seventy.

I AM AT PEACE

A lifetime we shared

I as your child

You were so mild

I treasure the memory

Like pictures in a book

And the wisdom you gave me.

My heart full of pain

My body hurt so

When you had to go.

The days filled with tears

The nights without sleep

For I wanted you near.

I approach the anniversary

A year since your death

With a calmness inside

I no longer need to cry.

A cleansing of my mind

My eyes are dry

As I now say, “goodbye!”

 Meditate. Pray. Journal.

www.LindaAmato.com

LA. Believes

Today is my mom’s 82nd birthday! She has dementia! I have been wondering how is it possible to erase ones mind?

I believe that the fear, guilt, shame, grief and lies experienced on the journey of life begins slowly to erase that which is too painful to endure. Death which many fear simply because of the loss of a loved one’s touch, the grief of never seeing them or just the emptiness that comes with their physical body disappearing from our sight creates an ache that is inconsolable.

In my mom’s life experience as one of nine children growing up, at a very young age she was witness to death and grief as her siblings died one by one. Her mother wore her grief for everyone to see by wearing black clothes for her entire life, empty now and filled with pain because she was in mourning for her children. Laughter was not allowed because there was sorrow to endure. The ache that grew in my grandmothers heart would detach her from the living. Truly we are taught many lessons from one another as I have been able to learn.

My mom was taught well by her mom and never deviated from the lessons. Fear was her greatest class and she feared life to an extreme that devoured her own existence. First the incomprehension of a husband that was alcoholic and manic-depressant which terrified her and whom she finally ran away from, then her son and first born dying unexpectedly at 38 years of age by a drunk driver, her first grandson being murdered at the age of 23 and then her healthy husband dying of colon cancer 8 years ago. Today, I thank God that she has found a path of her own to continue to live without her fears. She is childlike now as she is cared for and plays dominoes daily! Clueless to who she is, where she is or what she has lived through.

Yesterday, though I was emotionally angry and feeling abandoned by her. I felt deep disappointment that she does not know me, my four children or my four grandchildren. She has missed so much and we have missed so much of her wisdom. I have dug deep within to make sense of this world she now lives in and delighted in the memories of moments from the past. I had laughed, cried, shopped, and walking holding hands with her. I had listened to her childhood stories over and over again, as well as the nightmares she carried from those years married to my father. I had journeyed with a woman I called mom and whom I loved unconditionally and still do. I am grateful to her and all I have learned from her.

Yes, I would love to share with her my becoming a grandmother but when I think back on my own childhood I never knew my grandparents but yet I know of them through her own stories. Mom, I promise you that I shall share your stories, your fears, your innocence with your grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

We are all here to love one another no matter what we assume another has done to us in any way or that which has created any form of pain. However, we all have free will to choose how we want to live and who we want to be. I choose to forgive, forget that which cannot be changed and love my mom as she was and how she is today.

www.makingbelievers.com

www.believablealternatives.com

LA Believes

I received a word this past week that allowed me to look at my life differently! It was just a whisper, gently heard from within but the word “PAUSE” stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to agree as I smiled, “yes, my life is on pause…” Simple and clear it was time for me to reflect, renew, and remember. I had always just moved forward in life asking no questions just going with the flow. I remembered that I never wanted for anything yet I received everything I could ever want or imagine.

As I write this Sunday, I sit in the window seat of our cabin in Upstate, NY watching the snow fall ever so gently on the mountains and treetops that surround me. It is silent in the cabin I have named, “The Palace,” as I breathe in all that I am witness to. I believe I have a connection here, on this land to Mother Earth which started as a child. As I reflect on yesterday I see that little girl I was, learning about the beauty of Mother Earth from her dad, who was an avid walker. I remember we walked everywhere our feet could take us because my dad did not own a car, otherwise we took buses and trains.

We walked through the streets of our neighborhood, the streets of Manhattan – even the Bowery and it was at a young age I learned of the homeless and forgotten men and women of our world. I was amazed and a little afraid at the men and women who approached us, but my dad told me to hold his hand. I would be okay, these people might have been doctors, lawyers, nurses and they just lost their way but they would not harm us.

The greatest of these memories is the times we went to Coney Island and a neighborhood park in Greenpoint, New York which I believed was called McCarron Park. It was there that my brother and I had our own trees that we had chosen and which we climbed and hugged when we visited. I would try and run so fast once we entered the park to try and beat my brother to our trees.

I no longer walk as much as I have in the past, I no longer climb trees, but I do still hug them! This land that we own 155 acres renews me and I believe my appreciation, my love and joy in Mother Earth stems from my dad.

This past week I journeyed to the life I have lived to reflect on who I am today. I learned that I need to renew myself, to pause and just remember how great my life is and has been. This I believe in my heart but I know it stems from deep within my soul.

I also remembered this week that as a little girl, a teen, a young woman, wife and then mother I did want to be a writer for I have always been an avid reader. I wanted to tell stories that in some way would and could put a smile on another’s face, maybe let them reflect, renew and remember.