The chaos is beautiful…
In the first year after my dad died, I was able to find great solace in writing my blog, “Thoughts from a Reilly girl”. Somehow, no matter how many times I tried, I lost my writing ability and a bad case of writers block set in. It was frustrating and surprising, as I have always turned to writing as a form of therapy. So much can come out of jotting down a few thoughts, making a gratitude list, or even journaling about a negative situation. No judgement is involved, the paper/laptop does not talk back and give unwanted advice, and most of the time, that nagging weight is lifted off your shoulder.
I am fortunate to have folders of these type of writings by my dad. Poems, short stories, lists, and random notes jotted down on scrap paper, some typed neatly, some written in his beautiful script, and some quickly scribbled notes. My dad lived a full and beautiful life, and when I read his words, it is like hearing his voice. I miss his voice. I miss my dad.
A few weeks before he died, my parents house was bustling with a cluster of our family. Just a Saturday in January, but we were gathered around, coming and going, food and wine flowing, bakery boxes arriving, and just the normal chaos that ensued when we were all there. My dad loved when the house was full, and when all five of his girls were there, it was all the better. I can see him now, in his flannel shirt and loafers, observing the commotion. Did he realize we were all savoring every minute we had with him? Did he know we were all afraid it was the last Saturday we would have like this? At one point, I happened to be alone in the family room with him, and he said “whats going on today? the chaos is beautiful”. The chaos is beautiful. Those four words struck a chord with me, and I quickly wrote it down in my black leather notebook I keep in my purse.
Last Sunday, the Reilly’s had a somewhat impromptu get together at my sister Sue’s home in Huntington. It was a commotion – really that is the only way I can describe the afternoon. We laughed, we cried, we ate and drank a ton of wine and something my niece dubbed “Jimmy’s cocktail”. There was a pool chair mishap, which landed two of my sisters in the shrubbery, and a photo shoot in which ‘make a funny face’ resulted in sheer hysterics. We were together. The chaos was beautiful.
I need to remember those words more often – it is so easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with life chaotic moments. I have been feeling bitter lately with Brian’s work travel, and trying to play the role of both parents so often. He is missing father’s day, and Riley’s 8th grade graduation – it cannot be avoided. I know he is doing this for us, for our family, so that when we have the opportunity we can create our own beautiful chaos.
So as we approach our third fathers day without my pop, I will pack up and head out to my sisters with the kids for the weekend, and immerse myself in “Reilly”. Knowing that we have the lessons from my pop still defining our lives journey, and filling that empty chair with memories. I am lucky, I am blessed, and I am a Reilly girl.
Happy Father’s Day Pop.