|Lisa and Dad
A warning: This is about grief. My Dad died on February 12, 2013. (I wrote this a week or so ago...)
Songs, music they are so powerful. I don’t know that I’ve truly acknowledged their power before yesterday. On Interstate 40, coming down the mountain between Black Mountain and Old Fort in western North Carolina I was listening to a mix of music on my phone when first one song and then another played and slammed me with grief. The two songs reduced me to a very wet and sad state of tears.
|Cat and Dad
I’ve spent the last week completely immersed in the joyous and apprehensive process of life beginning. A new baby was born to our family, one that I hold a special interest in because of how dear her parents are to me. Being allowed to share in this experience so completely with them put my own grief and self out of mind for a while and gave me a distraction from the part of life that comes at the end of the circle.
With my father’s death I have been fairly inconsolable, not trying to be, I just can’t act as though nothing has changed, because honestly, it will ever be the same again, even though intellectually I know the sharp edge of this grief will pass with time. Having to put aside this grief for a few days has been wonderful, or so I thought until I came down that mountain with “Gitan” sung by Garou, a Canadian singer, and “Wild Horses” sung by The Sundays playing. With first “Gitan” (Gypsy in French) the tears began toward the end and I thought it just a missing of him that would pass and perhaps it would have if “Wild Horses” hadn’t played next. The lyrics of “Horses” gave my suppressed grief wings with a power that took my breath and my defenses away. "Let's do some livin' after we've died..." As I took the Old Fort exit I knew where I had to go. I turned on to the road that would take me to “Sam’s Pond” and parked where I could look out over one of Dad’s favorite fishing holes.
|Last photo of Archie and his kids, David, Lisa, Duncan, Cat, Bonny
In the peace of that setting, with the water level so high he would have been tickled pink, I sat there and cried. My heart is broken. My father is gone. At this point I really don’t care that he’s “in a better place” or that “he’ll always be with me in spirit and in my heart” or any of the other words that people say to try and help make you feel better. All I can feel right now is that he is gone. I will never ever for the rest of my life touch his skin, feel his arms around me, kiss his cheek or help him shave. I will never ever again walk into his room and watch his face, his eyes light with joy just because I’m there. I won’t hear his voice tell me about his day, or sit on the phone with him for an hour to place an order for fishing equipment on the internet. Those times are gone and will never come again. How can that be okay? How can I just accept without grief these losses in my life? No other man has known me as long as he has. And even though he wasn’t always kind and gentle, in fact was quite driven by fear and insecurity most of his life, he always loved me. He always loved all of his children.
He never stinted on telling me he loved me. On telling me he was proud of me. I may not have always been able to hear what he had to say over the fifty-three years I knew him, but I do know that he loved me. That helps, to a point, in carrying this grief, but the grief is still too raw to assuage completely.
So I will have this grief. I will give it its way until I no longer need to do that. I will pick myself up and live with this wound. I know he would like to know he is missed. I also know he wouldn’t want me to dwell in a pity party for too long. So I won’t, and I also won’t listen to “Horses” again for awhile. I will honor his life by mourning his loss and allow myself to miss the man who helped give me life. And then someday, when I’m ready, I will write about my joy in knowing him, of his life. I will move on. I love you Dad. I miss you.