• Melissa Volker

My Father's Tears

My father disliked how our society views children -- as though they are less-than simply because they are new to the world. In his work in the theater you would see him after a show talking with kids of all ages. If they were little, he knelt down so he was eye-to-eye, if older, he stood, leaning in, engaged, open.

Regardless of age he listened more than he spoke and smiled readily, encouraging them to speak their minds, their hearts, acknowledging that their words, their feelings were meaningful and important. His views have been the bedrock for how I've always interacted with and treated our own son, Lex, as well as every other young person I've known.

I have photos of my father with Lex as a toddler. Lex is watching something on TV, sitting on the floor in his Pa's apartment, and there, lying on the floor beside him is his Pa. On his level, attending to every phrase, exclamation and gesture that his grandson made, answering him with words, full conversations, knowing that what he said would be understood by Lex's ears -- no matter how small they still were.

I miss him every day. I am angry and devastated that he was robbed of the chance to watch Lex grow into the compassionate, funny, creative, insightful teen he is. The two of them would have been thick as thieves, my father would have been deeply proud of his grandson, and Lex would have brought him endless joy and laughter.

I am so very sad that this was taken away from all of us.

I wish every day that he was still with us to share the journey in raising Lex into the world.

However --

Knowing his views of young people in this world -- how much he loved and admired them, no matter their age -- I am so very glad he is not alive to see the violence that continues to befall them. As much as I miss him and wish he was with us, I am grateful he is not witness to this.

It would have crushed him. Enraged him. It would have wounded him to his very core and left him…spent. Lost. Horrified to the point of utter bewilderment at how we let it come to this.

He was a deep, sensitive soul and this would have devastated him.

I know this not just because he was my father. Not just because I am very much his daughter. I know this because every time the news is flooded with stories like Sandyhook, Parkland -- I see it through my father's eyes.

And I cry --

I cry my father's tears.

Where do I find the words to say? How do I teach him? What do we play? Bit by bit, I've realized That's when I need them, That's when I need my fathers eyes. My fathers eyes. That's when I need my fathers eyes. My fathers eyes.

Eric Clapton, "My Father's Eyes"

#enough #nomore #walkforourlives

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