We have a serious problem in our family with communication. Or should I say non-communication. Perhaps it is a part of the hazards of having higher levels of estrogen in a primarily testosterone-driven environment. I can’t help it- blame it on the double dose of X-chromosome. I need to connect with my family- and they are usually too preoccupied with their own stuff to respond. I suppose that I only have myself to blame. I have grown up avoiding anger and hiding from rejection in all of its incarnations. During my formative years, I was taught to repress my emotions in favour of keeping the peace. My father avoided any kind of emotional confrontation, hiding behind hockey games, and the indifference of “I don’t care, do what you want”. I never knew how he really felt, who he really was- I don’t think he really knew either. The unspoken rule was “don’t bother me”- disengage, and isolate. Consequently, when the time came for us to be there at the end of his life, we didn’t know how to be present. I was at a loss- wanting to DO things to make his dying more comfortable, wanting to tie the rapidly unraveling threads of the thin tapestry that was “father-daughter”. But he died with too many words unspoken. I never got to read the book that was his life. I never figured out what it meant to be a daughter, let alone his daughter. I was too busy transplanting myself into the pages of other stories. And now I watch my own children rushing into their own futures- and feel a keen sense of loss at missed opportunities to just be together, to have spoken more words of love, to have been a more available parent. I want to remain a part of their lives. I grieve that I didn’t listen more- and out of the brokenness of my disappointing failures, I must press onward- picking up the dusty shards and patching the vessel that is my heart, so that it can be filled once again with God’s love. A cracked vessel, yes-but in the rupture, hopefully a faster conduit. Only time will tell. My hope and prayer is that my children will find what I was unable to give them- for all parents fail their children- and that they will also find the grace to forgive me and keep on loving. This is not something that I can automatically assume will happen, but I can only hope for it to be so.