It was he that paced the halls. First, the birth of his son, my brother Adam. Five years later, it was I who came along, a daughter that my mother had craved. We were complete, a family of four, two beautiful parents, darling and funny children, a thriving business and home was made in Eastern North Carolina. The End.
It never happens that way, does it? The story goes on and on with twists and curves and backslides and steep slopes and what remains is the rest of us. After a long year of pacing for his son once again and this time, there was no bright face rushing with jubilant news to the expectant young father. This pacing had led him from Durham to Boston and back to Rocky Mount, the town he and my mother and Adam had moved to so long ago. The three of them in a convertible Volkswagen with a trailer that held a crib and a bed. That was all. No delicate China, no silver, no fine linens, just them before me.
The pacing for his son this second time must have slowed that summer, as the end was near and surely our parents knew even if I did not. The pacing ended that hot July day at almost noon, exactly twelve months from the time it began. And there were three of us.
Her parents had left this earth early in my childhood and though I was sad, it was my mother's loss not my own. His parents left many years after Adam and our solemnness, almost lack of sadness truly, was a rare connection that we noted as we waited for my last grandmother's service to begin.
He paced again that day, waiting, and I walked with him back and forth. That day was hot too and we restlessly walked awaiting the service but thinking of the boy who had been buried just a 100 yards away from where we tread. His only son, whose life had been such a guiding light. He paced thinking about life and was left with the knowledge that he had lost a son too early and now his parents, a family that was whittled down to a wife, daughter and brother.
Life is trying and pacing is an art for most every family at one time or another. I'm so thankful for the father that continued on the journey, seeking, searching, hoping, grieving, mourning and then smiling. All that pacing had not ended him and so, I learned to put one foot forward and get out of bed each day even when the sunshine's rays did not beckon me and the dark called my name. I chose to follow his footsteps and that has made all the difference.
I sent no card this year, no balloons, no flowers, no gift, but I shall send him this story and hope he knows that he has made all the difference in my life. I share the poem he wrote me months after Adam had vanished and I am so thankful for the gift that sparked my love of writing.
Adrian Thorpe Harrold
A moment ago a baby but now much stronger
How I wish it could have taken longer
A toddler with a blankie and then new math
Childhood lights your own path
Don't forget those who loves you and were left behind
No matter what, you'll always shine
At any early age you knew strife
Let them be a milestone for your life
Now, don't look back but forward to the sky
Lift your head and countenance high
The future is bright and clear
Your heritage is strong, have no fear
Be special and live each day
As you know, that's His way
Oh, how you've grown!
December 25, 1990
I offer my humble thanks for him as a birthday gift today. Thank you, Daddy and happy birthday.
May 11, 2016