Phantom Love

You can’t just say you love me. Love isn’t words.
Love is time — spent over the span of a life.
Words are a phantom love.

I can’t mend your hurting heart.
I don’t even know why I should try.
Empty, adrift. You are searching for something.
Crying out, and I hear you.
But I cannot help.

You can’t just say I’m sorry.

Love is known through a lifetime of being, searching, knowing.
Love is acceptance. Endurance. Forgiveness.
Each of these is evident — if you love.

What is it that I am to you?
Do you feel you cannot provide for me the things I crave?
I am fully aware and accepting, that I am the woman you both shaped over time.
Strong. Capable. Faithful.
Afraid. Careful. Wounded.

You don’t have to heal me, that task is all mine.
All you have to do is BE,
with me,
in my life.

You can’t just say you love me – show me, you don’t regret, that I am.

Show me.
Just be.
With me.



(May 21, 2008)


Daddy, I reach up with my whole heart and gaze at you,
eyes widened, eager; wishing for your arm hanging there happenstance.
I am filled with hope and I itch
for you to hold my hand.
I linger, waiting, with another glance up at you.
Will you look down, will you grab my hand
a sudden tenderness?

Or will life pull you on toward the rush that ‘doing’ brings?

I planted a Cherry tree in memory of my father. He died five years ago May 19th. This is the first year I’ve gotten a few blooms, because I don’t prune it correctly.  I was always emotionally “reaching” for something from my dad, that infrequently came, whether it was holding my hand or just unscheduled time.
June 4, 2008

I needed [Too Late]

my parents did as well as they could

my parents did as well as they could


I needed a father who would love me for who I am, not who I might be or who I might become.
I needed to be able to speak my mind, express myself, have opinions, and not feel I was your captive, imprisoned by you being right every time.
I needed a father who would not yell at me, at my sisters, at my mom.  All I can remember is constant bellowing, uproar, fear and pain.
I needed you and what you gave was distance, scowls, the expansive cloud of disappointment hung about us all the time.
Will I ever know why you were so angry?

I needed a mother who didn’t push people away; who wasn’t always afraid of him, of me, of living her life.
I had a mother who was dangerously sad. We all knew it. Because of it, I was always afraid, always tired, and scared of life.  If she couldn’t manage, how could I?  She’s still afraid, but at least, I know why.

I needed parents who knew how to laugh at themselves. I am slowly unlearning that legacy.  I need to be able to poke fun at myself.
It is so simple. So satisfyingly good to gaze at my imperfections and know it’s perfectly okay.

I needed a father who came home and wanted to be there; who gave hugs that didn’t feel off because they didn’t jive with constant anger, constant fear. Hot cold. Hot cold. The sting of our speculation.  If only you wouldn’t feel ‘rejected’  all the time.  If only you  understood that your deeds didn’t match your words.

I needed someone to watch me grow, with joy.
I needed you to remember me daily. If not every day, often enough to not let me get lost in books and fantasy, in forgetting, in weary striving for what’s unattainable, even impossible.
I needed you to help me on this journey of life.   I was falling down, over and over, stumbling, until I thought I couldn’t do anything right. Plunging into failure and living up to your disappointment with your life.

I needed a mother who would remember my birthday.
I needed a father who didn’t make me cry.
I needed.  I needed so much and when I allow myself to imagine how much I needed you, my heart feels full of gravel; my insides closing in. My heart is bursting with confusion, anguish; My heart is full of your unthinkable, backbreaking life.
It is something that I can’t put my full mind to, yet. Perhaps because I don’t want to discover that I needed so much from you and it is too late.  Too late for what I needed. Too late.


10/06/08 MHH