Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"But I will hold on hope"

My words dried up when dad died.

The farther away from him I've gotten away from him, the less people want to hear about him. About how I feel. I have been mostly silent. But it creeps up on me when I least expect it, baking 10 different kinds of Christmas cookies one night, and suddenly being seized with such overwhelming, cavernous sadness. Remembering Dad reading Capote's 'A Christmas Memory', and needing to find that book, his copy, immediately. Or welling up with tears at the thought of getting rid of a table that belonged to Dad and his family. Someone said to me recently that this holiday must be easier than last year. It's actually been harder. I have passed through the phase of shock and awe, and reality has sunk in. And truthfully, I can't see this ever being easier. I'll always see that empty place at the table.

I went for a walk tonight, for the first time in a very long time. I had forgotten the quiet meditative trance I get into, the lulling drone of the traffic and the gentle clicking of Ed's law's on the pavement. That was always the time for me to think, back when dad was sick. I would mull over things, then come here and blurt them all out. I kept nothing in during that time. Now, I keep everything in. I have tried, in the last year, to throw myself into being busy: into being super mom, PTA, play dates and activities. I have slipped in and out of a persona that feels so unlike me. I think I wanted to prove to myself that I was stronger than the grief. That I could rise above it and be stoic. But it's really not that simple. Nothing ever is. But as ever, I still have hope.

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Dad,

I know, I know. I didn't do anything for the fourth. Look, I had an opportunity to go to someone else's house for a change, and I took it. I didn't grill out, I didn't have everyone over - but I did make a flag cake. However, it only had 12 stripes and I'm pretty sure there were not 50 blueberries. I could picture you rolling your eyes at me. But trust me, it tasted the same.

The kids are getting so big, you wouldn't believe it! Tyler has finally hit 5 feet and is taller than his Aunt Tina, Henry and Addie keep growing like weeds. Addie is almost riding a two wheeler - not quite there yet, but she is so determined! She doesn't want any help, she waves me off and says 'don't watch me, I'll do it myself!' She also is swimming like a fish, and has taught herself to do front and back somersaults, and she does cannonballs in the deep end. Henry is learning how to dive, and he did awesome at his basketball camp. He came home thinking he was one of the team, nonchalantly talking about hanging out with Tyshawn Taylor, and telling me 'Mom, they want me to come back next year.' I didn't tell him that they tell ALL the kids that. He's actually getting pretty good at basketball - sports in general, really. Given our family history, it's hard to imagine, I know. But nonetheless, you'd be so amazed and proud.

Mom got a call from Cheryl at Fringe - they're honoring you at the Festival this year! I knew you'd be thrilled. We're getting a lot of your prints together, and that photo of you at the Flint Hills that I love so much. You are very much missed by all of those people, you did so much for them.

And it goes without saying that I miss you, too. We all do. Mom says the house is too quiet, and I have no one to bake for anymore. No one leaves clipped articles from Newsweek or The Atlantic on my dining room table anymore. There are lulls in conversations at family gatherings that never used to be there before. There is just a huge void without you. I love you.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I truly meant to keep blogging after Dad died, but as verbose as I was during the actual process, I find that I can hardly talk about the loss, much less write about it. The pain is almost worse than before, as I'm expected to move on, and no one talks about Dad anymore. I still thinking of calling him, several times a week, forgetting, ever so briefly, that he really is gone.

What's left after someone you love dies? Love, memories, what else? And how do you ever move on?