I hated his music when he was alive because it seemed to always accompany his drinking. I associate honky-tonk country with self-destructive behavior and I intensly disliked the singers (Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, etc.) for perpetuating a lifestyle that was incompatible with real life, including raising kids. I think his unhappiness killed my mother, for she surely would have had the strength to fight her cancer if she wasn't constantly fighting him.
I am going to spend the rest of my life working out my Dad Issues. The anger I harbor for him, and sometimes the hate, are like old friends and I don't want to give them up. They are my justification for my sometimes really rotten temper.
But, as with everything, with age comes perspective.
And that perspective started, funny enough, at his funeral. My brother, who was always better at accepting things the way they were, and accepting him the way he was, chose to toast him with shots of Jack Daniels and Waylon Jennings blaring the way my dad always liked it, obnoxiously loud. I never understood why my brother was better able to accept him as he was, but I couldn't deny that it was exactly what my father would have wanted, his favorite poison accompanied by his favorite singer. The music exacerbated some bad memories but I held onto them and I tried to work through it. I think I touched on something, some 'truth' beyond the feelings that got worked up in me.
So I downloaded one song, Are You Sure Hank Would Have Done It This Way, and when I drive to work some mornings, I play it really, really loud. I am more like my dad than I ever want to admit out loud, and I use that to try and understand things posthumously the way I couldn't while he was alive.
I think it helps. I think the more I allow myself to revisit some of those songs, and the more I look at some old pictures of my dad that my uncle sent me not long ago, the closer I get to some type of acceptance and closure. Not forgiveness. I can't say that forgiveness will ever come, but maybe something close to it. An understanding of him as an adult the way I couldn't as a child maybe? I don't know. But I'm posting this video as a marker of sorts, of the week he died. Jus as a way of remembering.