wish it wasn’t raining

October 10, 2010

Second day of rain. Sigh. I think I’ll struggle against it for a little bit. I know it’s futile, but that’s ok. I get some satisfaction out of having something to rail against. Rain’s an easy target. Oh, I know that it’s good for the kale and beets and turnips and collards and herbs in the back yard. And I know all the rain keeps the temperatures milder here. Yay, for those things, right?!

I went to the Karl Marlantes talk at Wordstock yesterday. He wrote Matterhorn – this powerful novel on the Vietnam war. I read it this summer and it sent me into a tailspin of emotions, which apparently are still right there, right under the surface of my skin. Because from the time I sat down at the beginning of his talk, to the time afterward when I stood in line for Karl to sign my book, I thought I was going to cry. It’s like anyone who is intimate with the most profound experience of my dad’s life, that being combat, ends up being a means or a conduit for me to be close to my dad. And I feel like my heart is breaking because maybe that person also knows what it meant to try and be my dad’s child. I wanted to stand there with Karl Marlantes for a couple minutes because he had two daughters too and he dedicated his book to them. A lot of people in the book signing line wanted some kind of connection with Karl. I overhead conversations between former vets and parents of vets and other kids of vets. If you loved someone who served in combat, you catch some shrapnel, so to speak. God, I know that’s a cheesy way of saying it, but I don’t know how else to describe this particular kind of hurt. Or maybe this is grief. Or maybe it’s both – the legacy of PTSD mixed with grief. It’s part of why I wish it weren’t raining right now.


3 responses to “wish it wasn’t raining”

  1. Kyle says:

    I really enjoyed your blog article on Matterhorn. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve posted it on the official Matterhorn facebook page. I know that many of Matterhorn’s fans would love to read it.

  2. Laurel says:

    My boyfriend just sent me your blog posting. He has my Dad, Karl, on google alerts. I’m overcome with tears after reading your beautifully written except. It sounds like your Dad too fought in combat. When you say “you catch some shrapnel” so to speak, I get it. It’s a hard thing to put words too. The effects of the War ripple for years into corners people would never think to look. And as children, we are often there in those corners huddled and scared, in this intangible, difficult to vocalized way. And there is grief. It’s so difficult to comprehend war. It was too big for my head and 5, and still too big at near 30! For me, reading my Dad’s book put reality to my imagination, and that was really scary and took my breath away. I cried a lot, during and after it, and well… even now. So, I just wanted to say, I appreciate what your saying. It’s both grief and deep gratitude. Our fathers sacrificed a lot and were very brave men. And for whatever reason, that makes me cry and is a very hard pill to swallow.

    The rain seems perfect. 🙂

  3. liz says:

    Kyle and Laurel, thank you so much for reading my post and for your kind comments.

    A special thanks to Laurel for what you said. Yes, my dad was a combat vet, a former Marine who served during WW2, 1st Marine artillery on Okinawa and Peliliu. He was 17 when he joined and it forever changed his life, which is something I didn’t understand in a meaningful way for a long time until he could talk to me about it, which was about 12 or 13 years ago. By that time I was in my mid-30’s and it had been over 50 years since he was discharged. (More than 50 years of untreated PTSD.) The things he told me broke my heart right in two, but I was so grateful he shared even a fraction of his story with me.

    Given that I can only imagine a little bit of your experience reading your dad’s book and what it meant to you and your relationship with him. As stunning and moving as the rest of us find Matterhorn, it must reach something in you and your sister that was maybe was unreachable beforehand.

    My dad died about a year and half ago, before the book came out and I wish he could have read it. I think he would have stood in line to meet your dad, just like I did. Since my dad’s death I’ve met a handful of combat Marines, mostly from the Vietnam war, and it breaks my heart for all that they sacrificed.

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