I began healing from the painful memories of my Dad some 35 years after his death, and it was an incredibly powerful experience, in more ways than you can possibly imagine. I’m going to continue a story that I began in my June newsletter. But first, you need to know that, unlike my older siblings, I have no memories of my Dad before he became an active alcoholic – or so I thought. However…
Several years ago, I was staying in my childhood friend’s log cabin up in Woodstock, New York. It’s a beautiful cabin in the woods. I was meditating in silence on the porch early that morning, feeling God all around me. I heard Her in the singing of the birds, felt Him in the breeze through the trees and smelled God’s pine scent. God was everywhere and I was truly witnessing all of it, without being a part of it.
Suddenly, a memory popped into my head out of nowhere.
I am seeing my Dad and me at the beach. I’m only about 18 months old and my little hands are holding on to each of his index fingers as he swings and rocks me over the breaking waves on a summer morning in Rockaway Beach, Queens, where we spent our summers up until a few years before my parents died.
I hear my Dad saying “Wheeeee!” as he lifts me. I look back and he’s grinning ear to ear, and I see all of his big teeth in his mouth. He has hair on his head. (The earliest memories I had of him were when I was around six years old and by then he had lost most his hair). He’s having such a ball with me and he’s all mine; none of my other siblings were around and I never felt so much joy while with my Dad before.
I’m screaming with delight as he picks me up over the waves. I keep looking back and seeing how much fun he’s having with me and I can feel how much fun I was having with him.
Then as the next wave come. He doesn’t pick me up and the cold water of the wave breaks right on me. I’m stunned by the wet, cold water! I look back to see why Dad didn’t pick me up, and there he is laughing. (My confused and shocked look must have been hysterically funny.) But when I see him laughing, I know it is ok and I start to scream and laugh at the same time.
He picks me up and cradles me in his big arms and hugs me and comforts me, saying “It’s alright, nothing to be afraid of” and I laugh and he laughs.
Just then, I hear my mother calling him. “Bill, bring Michael up so I can put some lotion on him.” And so he does. He carries me up the beach, back to the blanket my Mom is on and hands me off to her.
While my mother slathered on the Coppertone® suntan lotion, the feeling of love I experienced from my parents was truly a gift. My mother was protecting me with the lotion and my Dad was having fun with me.
Years later, when I took my kids to Rockaway Beach, I too would smother them in suntan lotion and it became a running joke with them. My kids would always squirm and ask, “Dad why do you put so much suntan lotion on us?” or “Oh no, Dad’s got the suntan lotion out, look out!”I didn’t realize the connection at the time, of course, because the memory of my parents and the suntan lotion didn’t surface until my kids were fully grown.
What a memory to recapture! Then, on the day that the memory came flooding back, I suddenly realized that it was Fathers Day, as well! Tears of joy washed down my face. Since Mom and Dad passed away many years ago, I didn’t think of them a lot on Mother’s Day or Fathers Day. But that day, I was blessed with a gift from the both of them and God. The healing that happened then still lasts to this day. When I think of my Dad or my Mom (and I now do think of them on Mothers and Fathers Day), I don’t think of the painful memories any more. Instead, I think about the wonderful memories that returned to me that day, as well as the others that have come back to me since.
In the end, I truly believe the healing had to come from God. Yes, I had to do my part, which I did. But, ultimately it is up to God. A friend of mine says “Work as if everything depends on you, pray as if everything depends of God.”
To learn more about Michael Hoare and Ah-Man, visit here.