my friend ingrid had a dream about me. i was splitting open milkweed pods and letting the wind take them.
this describes my grief as of late.
instead of crying when i want to i will feel it come and i will send it up and away. i don't know why this is. i am a champion crier. i cry at anything. and yet, i don't want to cry. be sad. think about it.at.all.
i am choosing to believe this is normal.
i've been thinking about my father a lot lately. i feel his presence with me even as i am completely certain i'm not fully understanding that he is actually gone.
there are things i need to do that aren't getting done. there is personal work and paper work and house work and LOTS of things i need to do that aren't getting done. this is depression. i know this. depression and grief. i am allowing it. even as i can't really stop it. we have an understanding.
yesterday we went to REI to buy sunglasses for me. i sat on my beloved smiths more than a year and a half ago and have lived with cheap/free crappy ones since then. my cheap gas station ones were stolen (nice work, idiot. how are those crappy sunglasses working out for you?) and my free with a box of vitamin ones i somehow LOST. i still don't know how. if i didn't know better i would think the husband lost them for me so i would be FORCED to get new sunglasses.
but i couldn't put it off any longer. and now i know why i did.
when i sat on my beloved smiths i was still estranged from my father. and then i wasn't. and then he got sick. and then he died. and i knew the place i would be going for sunglasses was REI to replace the smiths. not online, not to another store, because REI was the place to go. i lived in seattle nearly 20 years. that's just the place you go.
my father worked at REI for years and years. he fitted packs and sold stoves and recommended or didn't the fun gadgets and charmed customers with his tales and his twinkly eyes so that you couldn't quite figure out if he was pulling your leg or not. he won the coveted sales award one year. he was good. it was his element. he was even featured in a television report about REI. we joked he was the 'face' of REI. he was 'that' guy you see in every REI.
and, he sold the sunglasses. he loved to fit glasses to faces, he would flirt and cajole and the customers ate it up.
of course i didn't want to go buy sunglasses. didn't want to go to REI. not then. not now.
but i was out of sunglasses and out of options.
and when i went to the REI yesterday, across the country from the one where he worked, there was a guy my father's age working with the sunglasses. 'that' guy. REI is like that wherever you are. the same young girls in clothing, the older handsome woman in kayaks, floaters in books and maps. i drifted over to the cheaper glasses (made by smith at least, but under a different name and not as good.) because that's just how i roll. even as i heard my father's voice and felt the husband's push towards the smiths. 'take care of your eyes' my father would say. 'why would you put cheap glasses over your eyes for protection? they're your most valuable asset? take care of your eyes.'
i just wanted to grab a pair and get out of there. i hated the shape of my stupid face in the stupid mirror and i hated the selection of stupid smiths that weren't the ones i used to have that they didn't make anymore. it all felt scratchy and wrong. i felt teary.
and then i asked the guy working the counter a question about a pair and i swear to god he had to hold up the glasses to his ONE GOOD EYE and try to read what was on the side! he couldn't SEE! okay, a bit, from far away, with ONLY one eye.
a sunglass salesman who couldn't see.
this would have been one of my father's literary characters. this would be the kinda guy he'd make up and create a life for. imagine that, x, he would say. the guy sells glasses and HE CAN'T SEE!
all right. okay. hi, dad. i cracked a smile. i let my shoulders down a bit and ended up with the glasses i first saw, i liked them and they fit my face, and we left. i felt better. and OH MY GOD i cannot believe how much more relaxed my eyes were! i cannot believe i've been living with crappy sunglasses for so long. TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES. i get it. i got it.
and then later when we were checking out at the brazilian market right there, on the ground, there was a penny. and then another. and another. they weren't there before, i swear they weren't. and then they were. just like that. all over. the duke and wingman and i kept finding them 'look i found another one!' nearly 10 in all. in just one spot. we were giddy. it's Pops! they said. yes, it is. it's Pops.
i guess this is how grief goes. you are sad and then you're not and then you're sad again. you take comfort in the signs however they come. lost sunglasses, lucky pennies. humor. you let it all sink in. you go with it. it's okay. or, it will be. you pick up the lucky penny, the wish having changed, but still there just the same.
you take care of your eyes and your heart does the rest. it distills the best of the person that you can remember and you take little sips here and there to sustain the momentum of moving forward.