My father looked through me as he died. His coffee-brown eyes blazed with an amber-like illumination. They glowed. His black pupils were the size of peppercorns and appeared to be suspended in the petrified grasp of ancient sap. My sister and I turned to the nurse and insisted, strongly, those were not our dad’s normal, everyday eyes. It was desperately important—to me—she understood the forces at work in that room at that moment…read more
I thought I understood grief but I don’t.
I’ve grieved for miscarried babies and all four of my grandparents. I sobbed and I screamed. I was incredulous and surprised. I sank into sad music. Mundane annoyances became personal affronts. I was wounded. I was broken. When my dad died, I expected all these elements of grief to invade, but on a more acutely intense level. My father is gone, forever. I will never hug him hello and goodbye again. I will never again hear him sing to me on my birthday. He will never visit my home for a weekend. I won’t have to explain to him, again, how the remote works or how to override the coffee maker’s timer if he gets up before it switches on…read more
I don’t remember whose idea it was to climb into a strange car in the middle of the night and drive around Boulder, Colorado looking for flowers to steal. On our direction, the driver would stop and several of us, all students, bolted to the flower beds that lined the streets in a posh section of town. We tore stems, dozens at a time, free. By the time we decided we’d gathered enough, we were buried under piles of irises, peonies, daisies, zinnias, snapdragons.
Once home, we dumped our haul onto our long, scratched, fiftieth-hand dining room table. They smelled incredible, filling our dank little rental house on The Hill with the wheeze of tender summer, just beginning to unroll. We didn’t own vases or containers that hadn’t or wasn’t currently holding alcohol…read more