16 November 2008


what i remember...

he was gone a full week before i could see him, a week consumed with momma's dying too. she still drew a labored breath & held onto my hand~ she needed me. he was already gone from this place~ seeing him really meant seeing the shell of the man i needed to see.

i had to choose.
it was a very long week.

momma was in surgery when daddy's funeral began. she was out of my grasp for those few hours~ beyond my words of comfort in a place i hoped would relieve her longing heart for a moment & ailing body for a very long time.

finally, my time to say goodbye to him.

i kept touching his soft, wispy hair & his fingernails...they felt like him. i knew better than to try & find comfort in the feel of his skin. i had been around too many dead by then...i remembered the disturbing feel & i stuck to what carried his memory for me, not wishing to shatter it with something morbid.

life & death do not feel the same & i could only cope with one of them at the moment.

~solid ground~

from the funeral home to the church...Brad, our friend & unfortunate funeral director (imagine that occupation in a small town) asked me if i wished to cover daddy's remains & close the coffin lid.

i could not begin to imagine doing that.

he patted my shoulder to let me know that my way was okay & then he removed daddy's wedding ring. i had never seen his hand without it. i placed it on my finger, in my heart intending it for momma but in my head knowing she would soon have no use for it.

i walked outside to breathe. i could not listen to Brad directing his staff. i could not watch them prepare daddy for his funeral Mass. i could not believe i was following a hearse to my childhood church.

i could not pray.
i could not speak.

Father F. had the choir sing & their music is all i remember...that & the cold coffin resting beside me. i put my hand on it to steady my every move.

by the time we reached the cemetery, momma was out of surgery. the nurse called my cell phone as i followed the pallbearers to daddy's gravesite. she wasn't doing so well...rather than being in the hospital, i think her heart was right there beside me & that made her post-surgical recovery that much more strenuous. surely her time under anesthesia was a relief from her newfound burden of widowhood; waking was not just waking to a medical recovery, it was also waking to a broken heart.

her presence with me was a keen as her absence.

another twilight...an ending of a day...& of a life. i know at that moment i would have preferred to leap into the light that hovers between day & night...clinging to the last notes of taps, letting them carry me far above the pain that had been & that was to come. the last note floated through the valley & in its wake was a silence that consumed me. i held my breath until the dry leaves rustled in a stray breeze.

in another moment we were driving away~ into twilight's last hurrah, heading again for the hospital.


luckyblueeyedgirl said...

oh, g/f, i always have a heavey heart for you this time of year. i pray He will comfort you and hold you particularly close this week.

Dory said...

I have no words. Bless your heart.

Beckie said...

These last two posts touch me deeply. I weep for you and for my own grief. There is nothing like a parent's love or the pure dread when you know that you are losing one or both of your parents.

Peace to you.

Catherine Vibert said...

These are so personal, so heartfelt, and beautifully written. I am so glad you shared this.

Rosa said...

Your stories are so touching. You have no idea how close to home this is for me too. I so hope my young children won't have to go through this soon... Keep strong.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a way with words.....



Annie Jeffries said...

Dearest Deb, As i read this, I realize that we are in very much the same place emotionally this week. Lots of difficult emotions are crowding in here as well. With God's love, Annie

Anonymous said...

It may be good for you to write these feelings down like this. We are here for you.
You are a beautiful writer, and therefore a beautiful soul. I believe there is beauty in true sadness, as much as that is no consolation.
Share Johnny? Um, no, I don't think so ;)

qualcosa di bello said...

blueeyed GF...your prayers are working. & i still hear your offers to board the next flight right next to these memories...

dory...these words are for you too

beckie...you are exactly right....thank you

cat...i really debated the merits of sharing this but so many people i know are in the midst of this type of grief right now. it is a place that feels so lonely but sometimes sharing it really helps.

scintilla...when my daddy was told his condition was terminal & the doc gave him a timeframe (i dislike that type of thing), it fell right around my children's birthdays (3 within 2 weeks). i was so afraid that he would die at that time & they would always have that memory. he fooled them all by living 6 months longer! my daddy was like that.

paula...but you have a way with art & heart...thanks for the much-needed hug

annie...you are one of the others on my mind as i wade through this...

maryann...thank you so much...every one of these has been cathartic~ another part of healing. & about johnny...i lose all sense when it involves him so...watch out!! ;-)