You cannot “unstink” a fart. It is going to stink no matter what you do to try and cover it up. You cannot take it back. It happens and often it is going to clear a room.
Just like you cannot take back things you have said, like in a jury, or an argument.
I learned a most valuable lesson from my father, though I wish I could have learned it a different way.
It was many ago, just days before the Christmas holiday. By now, my dad and stepmother were done with the holiday shopping, or so they thought. A minor argument ensued, I believe over insurance, when they realized they still needed a last minute gift. From the argument, frustration was added as they prepared to head out into the holiday rush traffic. My father would leave the house first, cross the street and start up the car. He glances out of the driver side window, to see where my stepmother could be as he thought she was right behind him.
It was dusk as the evening sun had settled. Headlights were now being turned on to see the path in front of them. Except for one vehicle. My dad waits for her to cross the street and sees that on her side traffic is letting up that she can now cross to the middle of the busy street. She continues her path across the west bound lane just inches away from the front fender of my dad’s car.
She never knew what hit her. All my father saw was his wife of nearly two decades be thrown dozens of feet from where he just saw her.
I do not know much else about the next several hours as my father does not talk about that night. By the time that I had received the phone call about what had happened, it was very early in the morning of the next day. But the news was not good. She had sustained major life threatening injuries besides her one leg being broken, a severe head injury.
But what my dad will talk about, and to this day, is the guilt that he carries from that night. That he never got to resolved the argument that he and my stepmother had that night. They never got to apologize. This would go beyond “go to bed angry”. They would never get that chance to apologize. To make matters worse, there are things that compiled on to his list of guilt. He apologizes frequently for not being there for my sister and I following my parents’ divorce. He apologized for missing certain milestones in our lives. He carried guilt about not being there for my battle with cancer.
On Monday, I will stand next to my dad, as he faces his biggest fight of his life, his own battle with cancer, lung cancer to be exact. And this goes beyond blame or guilt. This is now about survival and the chances that lay ahead of him. Beings somewhat familiar with medicine and cancer terminology, I feel very good about his chances of beating it. And I hope that as he knows I am standing by his side, I have long forgiven him for our past.
“Dad, just do this! Madison and Emmalie love their Poppop and know that if Daddy could beat his cancer, and you are his dad, then you can do it too.”