I feel that I should write today, but I know that even in writing I will not deal with or face down these things which haunt me only in the very cold of night while I lay awake dreaming. Instead, I will do exactly this: I will use metaphors as my shield and allusions as my sword and with both I will quell the tears in my throat but banish not the demons in my soul.
What am I supposed to say, after all? This is what I know. Dance and parry, not a brute frontal assault. I slip into the water inch by inch to test the temperature; I do not dive in head first. I am neither honest nor brave, trustworthy nor selfless. I know his ghost watches yet I cannot raise my eyes to meet his gaze. Is it still too painful? Do I need more time? Or will I always be such a coward?
I thought that after a year I would know the answer to that question, but I do not. In fact, a year later I stand here with only more questions, not less. Even the answers I once thought I held have crumbled before the truth. So what have I been left with? Can one exist on questions alone? Can I be content to be a riddle unsolved? Here I am a year later and I am more burdened than ever before, though I have cut from myself so many terrible things in order to gain my freedom. I have broken my chains only to find myself behind bars; I am one body yet so many wills.
So what now? Will I wilt in the rocky soil I have sunk my feeble roots in? No! I will not; I cannot! Instead, I will force my roots down deep, into the rich dark earth he laid for me. I will draw strength from his heart and his soul and the memory of his voice and his hands and his eyes. If I will not be strong for myself, then I will be strong for him. If I cannot be brave of my own accord, then I will find courage in his lessons and his life. That is how I will remember him. That is how I will honor him. That is the best I can do, and for him above all others I would do anything.
For him, I will love.
For him, I will live.
As long as I am my father’s daughter, I cannot fail. My ears catch the high cry of the lonely wind. My eyes hold the vastness of the deep ocean. My nose breathes in the warm woodsmoke smell of the evening. My hands cup the sweet black soil of the earth. My feet tread the endless miles between today and tomorrow. My heart beats the rhythm of night and day, summer and winter, life and death.
As long as I am my father’s daughter, I cannot fail.
As long as I am my father’s daughter, I cannot fall.