grief

You Had Me at Light

I’ve been working on a story about loss. The story is going well, I think I’m getting good words on the page. But in order to find the words I want, I’m going back into memories that bring up a lot of sadness.

Yesterday, I finished a really good revision. The story is close. Very close. And writing it brought me close to tears. So I did what I always do when I need to remind myself that life is also a part of death. I took a walk.

“C’mon, world. Make me feel better. Make me remember joy,” I said.

The day was grey, but not so wet I needed to wear rain gear. Cola, as always, was thrilled to go and immediately found a stick, found a puddle, found a gopher hole. A dog is a good companion when you are looking for joy.

As I walked, the sun began to peek below the clouds. The tops of the bare trees became gold. Light seeped around the edges.

“Nice, world,” I said. “Thanks.”

And then I turned the corner.

And cried. And laughed. And cried some more.

Because I asked for a reminder that life is good and I get this. The most amazing fucking light show I could imagine, complete with a sprinkle of rain on my upturned face like tears from heaven.

I always feel better when I get off my butt and take a walk. But this? This was ridiculously healing.

Peace and love,

Chris

Shine

It’s been four years today since my Daddy left me. Has it gotten easier, missing him? No. But it hasn’t gotten harder, either. The dark hole of sadness hasn’t gotten any deeper. The black emptiness of pain hasn’t gotten any darker. And the gasping, breath stealing anguish sneaks up and ambushes me less and less often.
I knew I’d be thinking about him a lot today, and I had wondered what thoughts would float through my mind. This morning, when I set off to get parts, I sat back, turned on the cruise control, turned off the mental to-do list, and waited to see what bubbled to the surface.
It was this: Sitting with my hand on his arm after his spirit had left his body. The feel of his arm with no life left in it, but still warm. The memory of not wanting to let go because I knew this would be the last time I held my Dad’s hand.
As this memory floated through my mind I found myself wishing I could ask Dad a question. Wondering what he would answer. How he would phrase that answer. And so I asked.
“Dad, do you think I should keep writing? I’m struggling with feeling like I’m not good enough at it to keep going.”
And Dad’s face came to me as clearly as I’ve seen him since he died. He put a hand on each side of my face and looked into my eyes. He leaned in and kissed me, soft lips in bristly whiskers. And all the times he ever told me I was enough came flooding through my brain. Every time he told me he loved me. Every time he told me he was proud of me. Every time he made me feel perfect because of who I was.
In the physical world I was driving through the Silverton hills, past farms and through oak groves, marveling at what a beautiful place I live in. Warm in the sun. Happy with my car. Sipping good coffee.
But in my memories I was being reassured by my father that he had never doubted my ability to do anything I set my mind to.
And I realized I’d always had Dad’s answers and I already knew how he would phrase those answers. He’s already answered my questions. Over and over and over. All my life.
By holding my face in his hands, looking into my eyes, and loving me while he was alive, he gave me a memory that will never leave me and an answer for every time I doubt myself.
Whether there is a heaven or not, Dad let his light shine down on me today. He gave me a sign, a word, and told me what I would find.
Of course this song was playing on the radio. Why am I surprised?
SHINE
by Collective Soul
Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water,
Love is in the air.
Show me where to look,
Tell me will love be there?
Will love be there?

Teach me how to speak,
Teach me how to share.
Teach me where to go,
Tell me will love be there?
Love be there?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

I’m gonna let it shine
I’m gonna let it shine
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

Oh, yeah,
Yeah
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

Shine on me, yeah
C’mon and shine

Profane to Profound

A few weeks ago I was asked during a critique of a piece I wrote with two POV’s which voice was mine. Was I the timeless, sweet, warm voice or the tongue in cheek humorous voice? I didn’t even have to think about my answer.

I’m both.

Life is full of moments that take my breath away, make me cry, leave me feeling moved beyond words. And then it farts, or trips or flashes me a bare assed moon and I laugh ’til my tummy hurts.

Life is both, too.

Cola
I took Cola to meet my dad today. He would have loved her and fed her forbidden snacks and let her get away with stuff he shouldn’t have and generally spoiled her rotten. And while I sat at the gravesite, Cola calmed her hyper, 6 month old self down enough to crawl into my lap and snuggle and the sweetness of it made me weep. Of course, it didn’t last long, and before I knew it she had jumped off my lap, squatted over Dad, and peed all over him. And in that moment I could almost hear Dad’s laugh again. Almost.

Life is laughter and life is tears and life is everything in between and so am I and so is everyone else.

Someone once told my dad he could go from “the profane to the profound” in one sentence. Dad took that as a great compliment. I take that as a goal to aspire to.

Peace,

Chris