For You

Overhead, dark clouds rip open. Raindrops slip from the car’s windowpane; I watch them disappear. The clouds cover the sky like gauze, softening a wound. Loss festers. Heaven’s tears spill forth as Angels witness an aching sadness that can only be found on earth.

Today I uncrate grief. Yes, I miss you; wish you here, returned to earth. It is true. Sadness shadows me in odd moments. Today the veil of cover hid her from the light. As she snuck up behind me, I sensed your presence. She’s aging. Pulling away. You heard my unspoken words.

We sit to rest. Her words spoken, tossed like rocks, hard hits to the heart,

“This was your father’s favourite place to dine. You enjoyed coming here, too.”

Not today. In that moment, shame surfaces. I rush my mother too much. It stems from a fear of regret, this desire to hurry her, pack up the never- ending stack of fries that she barely touches, drink the brimming coffee placed before her. I steal our time, afraid of growing old too fast, waiting.

As ifsensing my inner thoughts, she fumbles, wraps her lunch and requests a cup to go. It’s enough for today.

We drive along in silence. Rain thrums a pounding rhythm upon the roof of the car. She slowly walks to the front door of her building, turns and waves. I wonder if she cries too. I want to rush to her, hold her frailty, stop time.

You interfered again, set yourself down like stone between us. There are beautiful moments I recall, snapshots in time I cherish. Yet, just to sit with you under the stars one more time would be enough. We could talk.

Today you haunt. Images flash. One repeats for no apparent reason. The stray pointer you snuck into the kitchen; its big eyes shone light from beneath deep, muddy pools. The old blanket you wrapped around the creature’s shivering bones, your concern for  another’s well being. In that moment you taught me compassion. You were kind.

You stood strong in the world. You believed in right and fought for it, demanded it. Your words became my truth, protected me with steadfast might. You taught me to be brave.

You believed in me; said I could be anything I wanted to be. The world I lived in offered opportunity. When I faltered, your words echoed,

“Work hard.”

That was the mantra you spoke. It was called responsibility. Do you recall how, each morning, you left a never- ending list of chores for me to complete? Each evening, I’d hand you the crumpled list, proud to have crossed off each and every item. The following mornings found longer lists waiting on the kitchen table. You taught me to persevere.

If I could bring you home we could talk. My tears, the proof of enduring love.

You sit upon the usual chair. Hyper vigilant, I notice a repetitive twitch of your left thumb as it strokes a finger, sense your anxiety. You avert your gaze, turn your head and look away. This time I call you out.

stone angel
stone angel

Prepare yourself. Pent up words unleash a spoken fury, slice through the thorns and twisted vines that wrap your soul. Unafraid of the tangled silence you grew, I press on to satisfy the wondering that buries me alive with a never- ending grief. That is the legacy you left.

Once satisfied of atonement, I polish you, ask how you came to be so aware of vulnerability; I ask after your youth, your dreams and wishes. There is still a moment of time. Share your regrets.

Please banish your shame. My hand reaches forth and gently takes your palm. I press your knotted fingers to mine as we sit, now in silence. You can leave, rest in peace. Know that you taught me well. I can finish our story, put back the piece you fumbled. It’s called loyalty.

Always loved.

December’s Words

Your last, whispered words spoken were, “I love you, honey.” It is as if the words floated through the air between us and found their way inside, under my skin, pumped through my blood stream until they found their home.  The four little words tattooed on my heart. Those four little words have a surging, pulsating power of their own.  The power to reassure me when I doubt, the power to comfort when sadness seeps in, and the power that allows me to offer a hand in forgiveness when I find myself in the midst of anger. Questioning. Just words spoken.  Still, words hold such colossal power over our mind.

On the anniversary of your passing, I take comfort in those four little words for I was wandering lost in a forest of uncertainty and doubt.  Frightened and fearful.  To walk away from a loved one, one must reach a grey place.  For there is no joy in this act. Then, one must switch off a piece of heart cell, much like one switches off a light.  Click, done, off.  Only then, is it possible to turn around and walk away.  Well, almost possible for it never gets easier, just possible.  The scar thickens, providing a protective barrier. For this is what happens when hearts break, something penetrates deep inside, thickening and scarring the core of life.  Just words that hold the power to pull us together, reconnect us, healing our brokenness.  Bits and pieces fall away from our shell until I imagine us finally gone.  As you are now, gone from my life.

I love you, dad.  Just four little words sent forth on a winter wind to you.  Catch them,  tattoo them on your heart.

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