Christmas music plays into my ears as I type this. Yes, I know it is too soon. But the temperatures have dipped below 90 degrees for days and I can’t help myself. Besides the season is nearly upon us. Okay, maybe nearly is a bit premature.
Music has a way of stirring strong emotion. Maybe that is why I love to listen to holiday songs early on, as the feelings of the season warm my heart like cocoa on a wintery day.
It is also likely responsible for stirring up details of my parents I write about in my journal, namely my mom–
Since she died two days post Christmas.
The last time I heard her voice I sat in my car in the cemetery parking lot– waiting to visit Bill. It was mid-afternoon on Christmas Day. We discussed details of the evening before–giving attention to the evening with family as if there wasn’t a hint of this being our final words to one another. The conversation ended with the two of us taking turns, saying, “I love you.”
Little did I know these three words were her last to me.
I miss her. When I drive is especially hard–as I would call often on trips here and there throughout my days.
On occasion I feel a sense of something missing–then realize it’s her. The pain of her absence catches me off guard, longing to see her, hear her, hug her.
Grief, even unexpected, seems to have similar ebbs and flows–when okay transitions to overwhelmed without warning. And then back again.
With my dad though it’s different–like it didn’t happen. Yes I know he’s not here. I know he died. I received a text in the middle of the night, slightly over twenty-four hours before Bill left us. I attended his memorial–even spoke about him up at the podium.
But it’s like his absence is buried somewhere under large craters by the loss of Bill, and he is displaced somewhere underneath, and unable to rise up.
My mind knows he’s gone, but my heart hasn’t come to terms with the loss–as if it doesn’t recall. Anything.
I have a pic of the two of us taken by my mom’s outdated camera–the timeframe is a couple months before his death. It sits in a prominent place in my office.
I stare at it often, hoping to capture feelings underneath–to find the pain I know is there, but refuses to release.
Emotional amnesia–when the heart refuses to come to terms with loss.
I wrote him a letter.
Where are you Dad?
I heard you in the background two days before you left, talking, actually trying to enter the conversation between Mom and me. Who knows what the discussion consisted of–likely about Bill since he was hours from death himself.
Then you left. Silenced by carbon dioxide that refused to release.
You know I couldn’t go there with you, since the last minutes of torture/treasure were with Bill. I needed to stay put with him. To keep going. Hold up the girls. Take care of details.
There was never a goodbye. You just left. Not a shoulder to lean on when a daughter needs a dad’s comfort in difficult circumstances.
You chose instead to embrace Bill at his homecoming.
Will I ever ache your absence?
Or did the gaping hole left by Bill just encompass too much territory for this weary heart to handle?
Anyway, it doesn’t change the fact that I love you too. Always.
As I read this for errors and such, I feel a stir inside, similar to heartburn–likely it’s heartache.