message in a bottle

November 5, 2009

Ever since my dad died I keep waiting for him to show up somewhere. It’s this absurd thing you do when you grieve. You look for hidden messages in songs and poems and tv shows and things your neighbor says and how the weather’s changing. It’s all fair game; anything can be a conduit. I prefer dreams. They seem to have the most obvious potential.

The funny thing is there’s no message in a bottle; all the the things my dad never said when he was alive he’s never going to say now that he’s dead.

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where is my mind

September 13, 2009

My memory is so shot this year. I hope it’s just the grief. Because I feel nuts sometimes the way I can’t remember things. I forget names of bands and authors and restaurants and the titles of movies and books. I meet someone new, they say their name and I promptly forget it, which I’ve never done until now. I’ll be in the middle of a sentence and I’ll just space some random word. Like tonight I couldn’t remember the word titanium. I was asking a firend if his racing bike was carbon or titanium except I couldn’t think of titanium so I kept saying you know the other that begins with a “t”.

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dream state

August 26, 2009

I had a dream about my dad last night. When I first woke up, around 5am or so, I thought to myself oh man, I really want to remember this dream, but then the second time I awoke up at 6:30am I’d all but forgotten everything except a general outline, which basically consisted of my dad and I working on a project together. Maybe building something or fixing something; I don’t know exactly, but we were wearing big, matching, straw hats. And at some point my mom walked into the room where my dad and I were working and she said something to us about my sister.

I wanted so much to remember more of it, which for a little while made me feel sad. Dreaming about my dad is the only way to be close to him now; plus, I am afraid I am going to forget him.

I know it must sound like I’m way down, and sometimes the grief does hit hard, but mostly I’ve wanted to use the blog to my chronicle grief. It’s a intense. Door opens and it’s a different world.

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just one look

August 23, 2009

I’m sick of being sad. Ya know. I really am. Even though I’m not sad all the time, I’m tired of it. It’s like the other day I was standing at a party talking with a friend about running. And I thought, wow, this is a pleasurable, standing here talking like this. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying talking about running shoes and body form and training regimens. It was almost a luxury. A small one. A secret one. But sweet to be following every word he was saying and saying things in response that made sense. And maybe he asked me about what I’d been up to or how my year was going and I said something about how amazing it was to be standing there enjoying this conversation and not be conscious of the fact my dad had died in a house fire this past winter.

Things kinda quietly fell apart from there. He went inside to find his girlfriend or something. I can be sad or notice I’m bot being sad and either way if I say something people stare at their feet and go away. No pity. I mean I’m not looking for pity when I say that. I just want more people to look back. Ya know.


a beautiful horrible thing

July 30, 2009

The grieving know that grief is more than a single emotion, that, in fact, it is a doorway to all the other emotions, from anger to something approaching joy.

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July 15, 2009

I’ve recently become aware of some loss and tragedy in the lives of a couple friends. Since hearing the news I find myself thinking of the small and ordinary pieces of their days that must be taking on some different shape and meaning. And not one of their choosing, as far as I can tell from my own experience.

I also know of some other friends or friends of friends who are in the middle of other kinds of changes. Changes that involve some type of upheaval, like break-ups and big moves and job loss. Life got altered for them too.

And everybody is kinda standing apart from the routine but negotiating with it at the same time. I don’t know if that makes sense. I keep picturing crying in one’s coffee, not euphemistically, but more as image of how one grieves and “gets on with it” at the same time.
My heart and my mind is with a lot of people these days.

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July 6, 2009

Most days I don’t know any more. I don’t know in a way I can’t explain. My whole world’s been re-configured but then again everything pretty much looks the same. I mean I do the same things, see the same people. I don’t play music as much and I’ve gained a little weight because I ate a lot of junk food to get me through the thick part of grief. But it’s really quite possible that a whole lot of life is about one manages the whole, whole lot of stuff that one doesn’t know.

Used to be people like me were called half orphans. I think it’s apt. If someone right now were to ask me what I am, that’s what I’d say — I’m half orphan.

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or something

June 23, 2009

Cardboard. That’s how it feels sometimes. Like I am cardboard. Mostly flat. Or maybe burlap is a better fit as is can take on some rudimentary shapes depending on how you fill it. But it’s the middle of the marathon here. Nothing sexy. Just more miles.

Solstice has come and gone and summer hasn’t even really started yet out here in this part of Oregon. I hate that fact more than I hate the rain. I don’t even really hate the rain so I guess that’s not an apt comparison. I just hate that summer starts when the days are getting shorter. I miss summers that start in May, summers that have seen the first sun burn come and go by this date.

This weekend I took a train to Eugene to see my sister and niece.The ride was a little dreamy and a little sad. I got to thinking about my father. Something about the clumps of trees so close to the tracks reminded me of home and I remembered that I am never going to see him again. Never.

I had a dream about my father the weekend before last. My sister and I were visiting him in a nursing home. He was telling us a story, looking from my face to her’s, checking our expressions for something. As he was ending, I kinda rushed him along, telling him “we have to go”; we had to go see see so and so. He looked up. Looked  right at me and said, “But I don’t want you to go.” Said it twice. And then my sister and I laid our heads down on his arm.

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don’t know

May 3, 2009

Fear is the opposite of love. That’s what this book I’m reading says. It’s not hate. Nope, it’s fear that closes one’s heart right down.

It’s green and blue outside. Green and blue and clouds pass by. Undeniably spring. It makes me think of Joseph Campbell’s instruction to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. Nature knows how.

But not me. I don’t know how to do that. Or if I did, I need to learn it again. Or maybe you spend your life learning it over and over again. I don’t know. I profoundly don’t know, which is scary because I thought I knew. At least, kind of.

Fear makes me think of Jesus. When I get wrapped up in fear, which is easy for me to do as it is my second nature, I wish I believed in Jesus enough to believe in being saved. I’m talking that old time give yourself over to the spirit being saved — knees buckling, tears flowing, speaking in tongues, falling over — that kind of being saved. It’d be a miracle, wouldn’t it, if accepting Jesus could really cast out one’s demons. That one could really be born again.

But Jesus rarely makes me think of love. Maybe, it was all those years spent looking at the life like crucifixion over the alter at All Saints. It was morbid. And the way we glorified his suffering and his death. The whole “he died for us”. In high school I used to think about it a lot about how people died for our sins all the time –torture, murder, neglect, genocide. And I’d ask myself what made Jesus different than a baby whose head got smashed in by some Nazi guard at a death camp. Son of God, I suppose, but then aren’t we all children of god.

Sometimes I think if the whole Jesus thing is really true, wouldn’t it piss him off that we don’t do more to celebrate his life. That we don’t do more to celebrate his instruction to love one another. Wouldn’t he go in a church and see that crucifix and think I meant for you to remember me in love, not death. His last meal was seder, it was Passover meal, which is the celebration of freedom.

I don’t even know why I’m talking about all this. Maybe I just want something to make sense.

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it’s hard

April 27, 2009

I know a number of you out there have grieved the loss of one of your parents and it’s heartening to hear about your lives these days. Running races, raising kids, falling in love, getting engaged . . . it’s heartening just knowing there’s another side to all this. Even if I don’t know the everyday details of your lives right right, which surely have their ups and downs, the parts I do hear about sound like spring feels.

I’m just so tired these days. Tired and more sad than I thought I would be, although I don’t know exactly what I thought was going to happen. I’m surprised by how grief has had laid me open. Softened me in some respects and broken my heart heart in others. For instance, the girl I like in Western Mass is as sick as she’s ever been. And I can’t really be there in it with her.

Part of me wants to tear down anything I’m still close to and anything I love so I don’t have to suffer losing it some day. Because the old distractions have only worked to pass time — tv, junk food, shopping –it’s all cellohane. Of course I can’t commmit to that path. Not that I fully want to inside anyway. I’m only half hearted at being shut down and self desctructive. For the last two days, all I can do is cry and I’m not sure what I’m even crying about exactly. It’s not all about missing my dad per se. And it’s not all about things falling apart with the girl in Mass. Although both those things make me sad. Sometimes very sad. But lately, it seems it’s more that I’m scared. That life seems so full of the potential for so much heart break that I can barely stand thinking about it.