Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Through The Veil: A Letter to you, Dad

New Year's Day.
It's sunny out, and if I don't go to the window, I can almost be fooled that it is a blue sky kind of day without any smog.
Mr. C. and the older three children have gone down to play at the lake, taking their breakfast of bagels and milk.
The babe and I went shopping for our New Year's dinner tonight.  
I got some bread to make stuffing. 
A roasting bag for our chicken.
Party hats for each plate at the table, along with notebooks and pens for resolution pondering.
Sparklers for out in the snow, after dinner.

I just finished making homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Little Babe went down for a nap.

My house is quiet and all I hear is the whir of the computer and the clicking of the computer keys.

The old year has died, and here we are.  
Time to take everything down.  
Put up valentine decorations.  
Move forward.

Standing in the front room the other night by myself, I realized why it seems harder than normal this year. Going downstairs, I nursed Claire in our bed while I typed this letter on my phone.
30 December 2013 

Dear Dad,

Looking at the tree lights tonight it hit me.  Why does taking all this Christmas stuff down feel like a formidable end, a cementing? Why does it seem that waking up will feel like a horrible, worst-ever, cold reality hangover?


All this talk of new.  New year.  New resolutions.  New beginnings.  Fresh start.  It is a new start, but this one smarts like crazy in the fresh air.  It's the beginning of a new stage without you here in the flesh.

Putting away the twinkly and taking down the years of family tradition that have wrapped me in a beautiful, both comforting and sad blanket these last few weeks, seems to figuratively put me out fresh in the snow on a cold January dawn.  Hello 2014.

Losing a parent, turns out, is monumental.  Pivotal.  Life-changing, really.  In some ways, I feel like a babe taking its first teetering steps.  And it's not that I don't know how to walk. No.  It's that you have always been here.  And now I get to be the parent who talks about the grandparent now gone, wanting that special person to be special, still, for those that are small.

Why does this winter morning sting,  you ask?  It feels like I have buried you on some vast land and we have sat and shared and cried and I have learned important, cherished things. But now, it feels as tho I have to pick up my bags and trek into the unknown, however many more years I have.  It's knowing I have to move forward, but never wanting to forget, or leave you behind.  On these tottering feet, I want to shout behind me, saying, "But you'll be behind me, right?!  You're still gonna be here, right?  Promise you won't forsake me."

Trudge.  Toddle.  Fall on bum.  Try again.

Or, do I have the analogy wrong, and it's you that's left me behind?  Have you gone ahead of me, leaving tracks for me to follow, in every way that mattered, showing me how to find my way home?

I am frantically, all the time, tucking bits and pieces and dreams and voice clips and thoughts and memories and conversations and funnies and tears and clasped hands into my mittens and boots, trying to brave this newness of snow and white and cold -- hoping, even if you're ahead, that you'll come along and haunt me all my life and point me toward the green.

I love you, Dad.


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