Happy Birthday


We celebrated your 70th birthday today.
There is so much I want to say to you,
and I would, if I knew that you would
stay open and listen.

I’m afraid for you in this life that you have chosen,
surrounded by stuff that has
far outlived its usefulness.

I want to tell you to sort through things,
to get rid of the clutter,
to make space for creativity.

I want to help you to awaken,
but I know that such candor
and such presumptuousness
can engender great resentment,
and I know it isn’t my job to fix you.

I don’t want to upset you
with my ideas of how I can help you,
save you, rescue you
from your self-created prison…

So I look at you and say,
“It’s good to see you Dad.
“Happy birthday.”

4 responses »

  1. Oh, Lorien, you spoke right to my vacillating heart this morning. I, too, am back and forth with how ‘honest’ to be in my relationship with my dad. How much ‘help’ to offer wrapped up in my desire to love.

    • It’s just so hard to know where to draw the line. In my Dad’s particular situation, it’s pretty touchy because he lives in so much clutter that I worry for his safety. I worry about the structural integrity of his old house. I want to help but I don’t know how…it’s tough. Any time I have tried talking to him about it, he has become defensive and even belligerent. Yikes.

  2. It’s hard, when you see a change that needs to be made; hard to accept that the person just isn’t ready to make it. I know from living with my husband, who was a hoarder, what an emotional issue it is, as though a suggestion to recycle a stack of old newspapers was instead a suggestion to cut off some beloved body part. Clearly I was very cruel to even think of it!

    • Gosh Willow…that must have been tough to live with! I don’t know how I would manage it. At the same time, I have a mild hoarding habit with some things, like fabric for sewing, yarn for knitting, art supplies, books…and that drives my husband nuts. But one thing I don’t keep is garbage.

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