Today, I went into my father’s home, a thing that I was afraid to do. I don’t have words yet to explain that fear, nor do I have words to explain – to narrate – the experience of overcoming that fear. This is such a complicated story.
Or, perhaps, it’s not. A father, well-loved, dies, alone, under circumstances that are still not entirely known, and, then, later, under circumstances that are known but which I am still not prepared to narrate, may never be prepared to narrate, he is found, and from there hearts break and hearts crumble and hearts are in pieces and what is left is pain and confusion and mess, figurative mess and literal mess, by which I mean, the remnants of death, the smell of death, and I – deep breath – I did not want to go to that place, and perhaps it might be said that I needn’t have gone there, that there is always someone else who can go there in one’s stead, but be that as it may, I needed to go, I had to go, and I went.
I went, and it was terrible, but also, it was good, because I went there, and although there was something that seemed very much like a dragon – a terrible, reeking, seething dragon – lurking there and although it opened its great jaws and I stared into its rank dark maw – too close, too close – and I trembled, for a moment or two, I knew, in the next moments, as I stood there, that it could not harm me and that it was just a monster whose only power was my fear. And that fear – it’s just fear, and it’s mine, and I can withdraw it, I can withdraw that fear, because it is mine to hold or withdraw as I choose. And so I did withdraw it, and the monster shut his jaws and he bowed his head and he just sat.
He’s still there. Him, and the mess. I will work around him.
There is no room in this story for my fear, for monsters. There is just me, and my dad. And my grief and my confusion and my mother’s grief and my mother’s confusion and my sister (ah, my sister. She’s left the story, sort of, which is another story, a complicated story that I cannot explain here, yet, but it’s fine, it really is, it’s just, you know, complicated) and where was I? Right: me and my dad and my family and the grief and the confusion but also the love the love the love.
And love always beats back monsters.
That, at least, is not complicated.
(Is this what it means to build soul-armor? Perhaps I am building soul-armor. Although perhaps not, because I am raw from this day and this post and I need to turtle up in this paper-thin armor. But I guess that that is what armor is for. So is this armor?
I hope so.)