The Perfect Woman for my Father…

The Christie Olive Tree

“The Christie Olive Tree…”

Funny thing time is…

When we’re children it refuses to pass quickly enough for us yet once adults the damn clock will not slow the fuck down.

As a child I grew up in a home that was devoid of displays of affection.  It was normal for me.

However innately I must have known the importance of these displays as whenever I would visit my grandmother; my mothers mom I would shower her with kisses, hugs and foot rubs during the entire visit doing so naturally despite the fact that such signs were not shown nor taught within my own family back at home.

I loathed leaving my grandmother & her home at the end of each visit. Begging to stay longer. Beginning the countdown as the clock began to tick away shortening my stay with her from the moment it began…

She did not spoil me.  She simply noticed & appreciated my existence…

As a child I was lonely.  I spent much of my time alone even though I had two sisters I never felt I belonged.  I remember crying a lot as a kid & teenager too and for no apparent reason other than the fact that I just felt strongly that something wasn’t right & that I was vastly different from the rest.

Neither of my parents understood or ‘got’ me either.

When you’re young, different equates to lonely as there’s no room for you in a world where clones are acceptable and the preferred human form.

My mother was devoid of affection & emotional displays to both her children as well as towards my father. My father was disconnected as well. They weren’t bad parents, they were actually very good parents it’s just that they were just miming their own childhoods 30 years after the fact.

I realize now that I’m all growed up that it was my differences that would set me apart from my entire family and make me unique as well as a resiliently skillful survivor.  I have since escaped the majority of my family. By choice.

Those that remain do so because I allow them into my world known as my life’s sanctuary.

I get this beautiful hot mess that is me from my father a Portuguese man who as he ages has more hair on his back, body & head then many 20 year old men will hope to ever have in their entire lifetimes.

He’s still strong and remarkably agile for his petite 5-foot 4’ish frame which is growing more fragile and mortal as each year passes. But his soul; his soul & spirit are strong as is his mind for his 70 year youthful self who is still in better shape then many youngin’s today.

One benefit of this clock of life which refuses to slow down allowing me to catch up is that I realize now that I get my strength, tenacity, endurance, unbreakable morality & code of ethics from my father.

Most importantly I inherited my spirit from him.

It is the spirit that is everything or nothing within each of us you know…

I can still remember the day that it happened like it was yesterday.  As a grown woman in her early 30’s I knew the day was nearing that my parents marriage was reaching its end. I’m still grateful that the divorce didn’t happen while I was a kid.

I know.   It’s selfish.

I watched so many kids growing up who came from divorced and broken homes & how it changed them for the worst. Even today many of those kids never did get right with themselves nearly 30 years later & bear the signs within their own broken relationships & selves even today. Still trying to right the wrongs of their pasts…

I supported my mom in her decision to divorce my father.  I’m still not sorry about that choice as looking back they weren’t good for each other.  It amazes me that they made it 43 years to tell you the truth as they are both such polar opposites in so many ways but in the same token also quite alike.

They’re both Capricorns you know not that it matters to most but it does explain a lot to me which is why I’m surprised they made it so long.  My father didn’t want the divorce.  He believed & still does in a til-death-do-us-part contract.

With time I’ve come to understand that what lacked at the core of my parents relationship was understanding & acceptance of each other as well as understanding & acceptance of themselves as individuals.

We all enter our unions as individuals first you know…

Despite this he waited patiently for my mother for 2 years after she left him with the belief she would return.

She never did.

My father is a bible-thumping Jesus loving man.  I am not.  I know Jesus, & appreciate him but he’s not my everything like he is to my pops.  As a matter of fact I am Wiccan & for the majority of holy-rollers out there this means I reside at the farthest point from Christianity a human can securing myself a front row seat in hell…

I love my dad.  I like the hell out of him too.  I dislike my mother but I don’t hate her nor do I speak to her or have her in my life anymore. There’s a certain peace that removing toxic judgmental people from your life can give you.  I have that now.  I didn’t before.

I’ve lived a very colorful life for my 43 years thus far.  Looking back in the rear view mirror I barely recognize myself sometimes as I’ve grown and transformed so much.  Despite the fact that my colorfully unconventional lifestyle choices have not nor do always fall in line with Jesus & his rules my father never has openly judged me, and if he has it hasn’t gotten back to me just yet nor has he thrown me away.

My mother did.

As this new year rang in last night I found myself counting all my blessings for although the road has been far from easy I still found that I have entirely more blessings to be grateful for than not.

One of the things I found myself grateful for was that my mother left my father.  For many I think this conceptual gratitude would be incomprehensible but I’m not like most & this is why I rock my shit the way I do.

Parents are people too you know.  Sometimes I think they have it worst than the rest of us for carrying the title bears much responsibility & little room for selfishness…

What if?  What if someone saw within you, your brokenness… What if that same person also saw as clearly as the sun rises and sets each day your true potential and wanted you anyway, fully aware of this knowledge…

Her name is Christie.  I still refuse to say ‘was’ even though she’s dead.

Christie was my fathers destined wife & the perfect woman for him in this lifetime.  He met her at church 2 years after he & my mother separated & divorced.  They both shared the same love and addiction to Jesus which I would learn would be ‘the thing’ for my pops.  I didn’t like, understand nor accept her until entirely too late in the game.

This is Christie......

“I still keep her with me. Even after all these years…”

It was that I had concerns as she’d never been married before, was almost 50, still a virgin when they married and lacked in financial resources.  Looking back I feel like a totally ignorant ass as what was not to love about her? She truly loved, accepted & cherished my father.  She did all this in-spite of himself.

Christie adored and appreciated my father for all the areas that drove my mother nuts about him.

As a woman & wife I get this twisted shit but as a daughter who only desires for her father to be genuinely happy, not lonely but peaceful; it means everything.

She was plain. No make up, fancy clothes or pretentious ways.  She was eternally simplistic.  Looking back now she was perfect.  Perfect within herself & perfect for my father but for only one reason:

They allowed each other to finally love themselves by experiencing true trust & comfort within the other & within themselves as individuals; for the first time in their existences.  Without the purest form of self-love & self-understanding I do not believe we can completely love & understand another.

It wasn’t that she treated my father poorly as to the contrary she pampered him & showered him with love, devotion, patience & acceptance and I realize now the most important gift anyone can give to another:

Understanding.  She fucking got him. 

I’ve to date never seen him so happy, fulfilled with a clear purpose in life & at peace with himself then when she was here with him.  He adored her and was demonstratively affectionate with her unlike with my mother. He was still a little stiff verses comfortable in his affection but he was still demonstrative and couldn’t seem to help himself.

She unknowingly held the key that unlocked this potential within him that had been hidden away for over 60 years. I truly believe he wasn’t even aware of its existence.

Christie has been gone now for over 7 Years…

Cancer took her from him & him from her.   Breast cancer to be exact.

He tells me that if he had to do it over again he would have kept her in Mexico where their unconventional Warburg effect ozone therapy sent the cancer into remission.  He took her there after conventional medicine & its treatments failed here in the States.

I saw it.  She was radiant, stronger & the natural pinkish color had returned to her cheeks when they arrived back home from Mexico.  The cauliflower shaped tumors that grew from under her armpit prior to leaving for Mexico yet had shrunk tremendously nearly disappearing while there only returned with a vengeance months after they returned home to the States sans the treatments.

I know he carries this regret with him now.  I do…

The ‘what ifs’ of our lives are what linger…   Them and that clock.

Christie died at their home with my father by her side.  She decided despite her love for my father and the plans they had made for their future together which had only just begun that she was being called to the other side and was ready to go home as she called it so she stopped all treatments for the cancer.

She was tired of fighting it and I realize now she fought it for so long for my father’s sake…

She had a rock solid peaceful conviction each time she would explain this to him and countless others as no one seemed to ‘get’ what she clearly knew.

She is one of the strongest women I have yet to know.  Her bravery & fearlessness still humbles me as does his…

I now see the longing for her within him that I had for the presence of my grandmother… Because they both got us.

The real us…

I had the pleasure of my fathers company recently.  Here in our home.  Hadn’t seen him up close & personal in nearly 2 years even though we chat on the phone monthly.

He looks good actually.

I do wonder though, if I’m the only one who see’s the pain that he keeps locked deep behind his eyes.  It’s her.

Christie.  She’s still there with him.

This time more strongly then the last.  Souls connect…  Sometimes the connection is so deep and familiar that we can’t find the words nor reason to justify their existence but their presence alters us & lingers forever.

She’s still with him this I am certain.  She’s still with me too.

Christie gave me a tiny baby olive tree.  A volunteer tree not more than 6 inches tall that came up in their country yard one day.  I know now it was her way of reaching out to me and extending the proverbial olive branch herself seeings as how I’d been such an asshole to her.

I planted it because I am an avid gardener and couldn’t bear to see it die.  She knew this about me as she was wise for her years.   I’ve now had the tree for over 8 years years and she lives in a large pot as I have refused to transplant her into the earth which is where she longs to be.

I’ve kept her to myself allowing the fear of transplanting her into the ground & not being able to keep her with me if I moved to hold me hostage.

I named her after she died not before.  I am ashamed of this fact.

Her name is The Christie Olive and I recently shared that with my dad at his last visit as I showed her to him giving him a tour of our yard… He didn’t say much but I could see the appreciation & memories in his eyes as they briefly shimmered brightly only to quickly fade into deep pools of pain & longing for what was as he turned & silently walked away from her.

I miss her a lot.  Mostly because she unselfishly made my father so deeply happy & peaceful just by being herself & in return finally gained true happiness, acceptance & peace for herself as I would learn years after her departure from this plane of existence. Stories from her own family spoken to my father as well as stories from her shared with my dad & then shared with me of her life of loneliness & struggle before meeting my father.

I also miss her because I cheated myself.  She was right there in front of me the entire time & I missed it. I never did get to know her.

Christie and my father ‘got’ each other.  They saw the good, bad & the ugly within each other and embraced it all seeing each other as perfectly imperfect works in progress.

What my father & mother weren’t able to get from & do for each other during their greater than 4 decades together, my dad & Christie effortlessly did & in much less time.

Christie and I were more alike than I realized while she was alive. I only realized our similarities after she was gone. We both carried with us the childhood scars of loneliness & difference.

The harsh firm lines of black and white that once defined my father spanning the 43 years that is my lifetime of knowing him have now been replaced with smooth lines of gentleness & forgiveness in magnificent shades of grey.

It was Christie who made this transformation possible within him as she left her gentle footprint on his soul.

My mother? Well from what I know she is the same as she has always been.  Cold, disconnected, judgmental and unforgiving both of herself & others. She is all of this due to her own inability to forgive.

Forgiveness does not mean to forget nor to excuse.  Forgiveness is the only act that can truly set us free from the chains of pain that bind us.

My mother is the keeper of the key within her own prison.  She refuses to accept this fact.

I have forgiven my mother and in doing so have been able to be grateful for her & my fathers union for without it I would not be here. My father & I have said our peace with each other which somehow miraculously healed my childhood wounds as well as his own from the moment we both spoke them…

My mother and I have not.

Forgiveness is in essence: Acceptance & acknowledgment of what was and what now can be.

Sometimes the best gift we can give to ourselves is to forgive us for our own choices…

Time gave this clarity & wisdom to me yet with it comes regret… I’m working on the regret part because the lessons within it are invaluable yet there is a microscopically fine line between absorbing the lesson moving forward better because of it & being chained to the shame that granted the lesson in the first place.

Time. It teaches us so much if we only listen to it.

I’m listening and I remember…

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