Tuesday, July 02, 2013


i am in a heap at the base of a redwood, next to a pool, and i am weeping. i am as small a ball as i can gather myself into, either from trying to escape the moving, slanting, baking sun or to go so far in i can't possibly be found. mostly both. i am trying not to cry loudly. i am breathing through my sobs. my limbs are all stacked and tangled. and that's when i notice, idly and with some surprise, how brown my skin has become in this sun. i haven't been this dark since i was girl.

and i am a girl again. my skin, my weeping. i am the saddest girl in the world.

we are here in the sun and the redwoods for some escape and relaxation. i am by the pool, and it is ringed with redwoods. i am swimming, i am happy, until i'm not.

there's a family gathering here. multi-generations. eating. drinking. swimming. being together. and that's when i go from a slightly damp 41 year old woman in a modestly cut bathing suit, sucking in my stomach with every walk to the pool, to the gasping for breath weepy little girl beneath the redwood tree.

grief just comes. one minute it's WHATEVER it is, and the next WITHOUT WARNING you get the sharp, involuntarily sucked in breath, followed by the sob-tinged shudder out. sometimes you go right to weeping, sometimes it's just tearing up and covering the sobs that don't come.

today, the sobs come.

i go to my three Fs. my father, my family, my farm. my father and my farm gone and not coming back. my family, so far away and i miss them. i miss them for me and for my kids.

some days you can rely on the grace gained through loss to keep yourself up. some days you've got to take the long way around.

it doesn't help that i'm sick. i woke up with a searing throat and a full throbbing head. i cobbled together a witches brew from what i brought and what i could find here and hoped for the best. it's easy to treat the symptoms, but when you're sick it's so hard to keep all things in check. you just have to let it work itself out.

and i'm crying not because i don't intellectually 'get' that what's gone is gone. changed. that that's the way the world works. that there is a blessing in this, here and there, and that moving forward brings its own rewards. i've lived with this long enough now that it's not about any of that anymore.

i'm crying because i just miss them so much. i miss my father. and i miss my house and my land and the ability to gather and celebrate the ones that i love the best. or even just like. i miss my family, closer, but still not within dinner at my house distance. my heart feels at once heavy with loss and too light with the time and distance of it all.

the sun has shifted and i'm in all shade now.  i sit up. i look across the pool. i don't want to resent the family gathered there. i really don't want to be that person. but right now, i am the one they made that broke the mold of that very.fucking.person.

i sit in resentment and memory and tears. i don't want to be sick. i don't want to be here. i mean i want to be *here* with the redwoods and the pool and the sun. i don't want to be here in this place. the place where grief will bring you. and like illness you just have to let it work itself out. it's mind boggling how much a heart can handle, and how patient a heart can become.

i dry my eyes and blow my nose. the boys are off getting food to bring back. they'll be here soon. i drink some water and put my sunglasses on. i try not to look like i've been crying. not because i don't want to show them my grief, they've seen it. they know it exists. they grieve, too. in their own ways. we have made room for grief (and celebrating the goods that came before. we can do that now.) it's not that, it's that i don't want to share my grief. not right now.

sometimes when you're feeling a loss, again, out of the blue, for the the millionth time, sometimes it's nice to just hold it to yourself. lest you share it and lose more. i know this makes no sense, but sometimes it's comforting to be in that room with the single chair. to hold on to that little bit for yourself, even though it's sad, just because you can. i blow my nose again and if they ask i plan to tell them it's the book i'm reading, that the chlorine is bothering my eyes and my nose. that my voice is thick with the illness i'm now suffering.

as it turns out my husband returns to the pool, the boys off to the cool of the room. and he has brought me soup. somehow, in this tiny river town on a day that's nearing 100 degrees this man has managed to find the one thing i want the most right now. in the immediate. my little wrung out heart starts to swell with love and gratitude. it's miso soup. and it's good. i take a few more sips and then i lean back in the lounge chair.

and because i'm "lucky" to be so far out from total fresh loss my grief can be nudged gently aside by the magic that is something warm and good from a bowl, placed in your hands by someone you love.

i keep sipping and i can feel the light peeking through the dark. the shift that comes, luckier still when you can feel it. i feel it. i look across the pool, at the family. i think about how nice it must be for them. "not" snarkily. this time. but how truly nice it must be. they seem to be enjoying themselves. there's a young and obviously adored granddaughter. lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. some recently graduated high schoolers. their excitement and optimism infuses the gathering. there's an air of celebration and cohesiveness. they are happy here. together.

i smile. and i think how fun it would be if my own extended family were gathered here. or a place like this. low key, relaxing. how maybe we could do something like this. sometime soon. i think about how fun it would have been to have had a pool at the farm. and i think about how much my father loved the redwoods. and this little neck of the world. how pleased he would be that i bring my own kids here.

and it's not the musings of what-ifs from a sad passing and passed past. just the maybes of a life lived, and one to be lived. the maybes of a (sometimes teary) eye towards the future.

and that's life, and grief, turning on a dime. again. so it goes.

i sink down gratefully into the lounge chair and stretch out my legs. i sip my soup and close my eyes.

wondering wondering wondering.


1 comment:

Maggie May said...

I'm so glad you blog. I loved reading this even though my heart aches for all the loss we all must have. xo