The thought of her father brought with it, as always, crippling desolation. Tobi’s grief over her father was such that she had not cried for him once since he had died. Her heartache simply couldn’t be expressed through tears. A stone lay in her stomach that undulated sorrow so dense that it felt as though it wasn’t an emotion, but an actual solid mass residing inside her.
She became dizzy as she heard the beginning of the same conversation in her head that came every time her thoughts went to her father. Her first instinct was to fall from her chair and prostrate herself. Perhaps her supplication would not be impotent this time, perhaps it would keep her from hearing his voice. Tobi knew better and submitted to the memory of their words.
“Dad… are you hurting?”
“No, it doesn’t hurt at all my sweet girl.” He had paused and drawn a slow, deep breath. “Listen, I can’t stop what’s happening Tobi, but know that my love for you is the force that has kept me looking to the light when everything in this world has tried to drive me to the darkness.”
“I love you so much dad. I don’t want to live in this cruel place anymore! I want to die with you!”
“I know it feels hopeless right now my darling, but one day you will know a kind of love that is so strong that it can create life and it will be your strength. I want you to embrace that love so you can keep fighting Tobi. When a person is at the precipice of defeat, if they will just take one more step, that is when love will find and sustain them. When you can’t think of going any further, don’t think. Just put out your foot and take one more step without thought for the next. Then, you live in that moment of triumph.”
“I don’t understand. YOU are that for me!” Tobi had broken down in her father’s arms and he had tried to stroke her hair. Emaciated and weak, he had struggled as she cried.
“You will understand one day my darling girl. One day when your night is so stormy and the waves of life have disoriented you, you will see your lighthouse in that one other person and you will remember my words. Oh Tobi, if only I could show you how I see you and how capable you are. You are special and I know you can do this. I don’t want you to be afraid for me, or worry about me at all. I don’t fear what will happen to me next. All of life and time and space is simply the universe experiencing itself, all that exists and has ever existed projecting itself onto the canvas of reality. I am not afraid of dying, I only hate to leave you. But, know that I will not cease to be. I will only go behind the projector and see what it is that man has called God. I will be a part of the author of man’s story.”
To be continued…