Here Be Monsters

August 11, 2009

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.)



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    { 54 comments }

    Mr Lady August 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I know that monster. I’ve looked into that mouth so many times, and I can tell you that in a year, in a decade, in a lifetime, the thing you will remember with perfect clarity is not the smell nor the taste nor the feel of any of this…it’ll be making that monster sit and watch you work around it.

    That IS soul armour. It’s the strongest kind. I am proud of you, my friend.
    .-= Mr Lady´s last blog ..My Parents Went To LA And All I Got Was This Stupid Blog Post =-.

    TwoBusy August 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    This whole thing – what little I understand of it – is so sad and terrible and strange and wrenching, and I’m left in something approaching awe at the strength and focus you’ve shown as you’ve tried to feel your way through it.

    I’m not sure what it’s appropriate to wish you at this point – comfort? empathy? sympathy? – so I guess I’ll just go with: whatever it is that you, your mother and your sister need… I wish with all I’m capable of wishing that you all find it.
    .-= TwoBusy´s last blog ..So… where was I? =-.

    quarkwright August 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    I offer you my sympathy, and a taste of my own experience that resonates against your own.

    My dad died last year, from lung cancer. I sat with him, all of us – mom, brothers, sisters – sat with him as he died (although I missed the final moment, I was there for nearly all of the last three days). It was not easy, to know it was happening and be unable to stop it, to be unable to (horrifying to say it, to think it, but it was a horrible time) hurry it along, to end the suffering sooner. At the time, I found myself imagining other ways that other people have died, and tried to imagine if any might have been kinder, easier than what we had at that time. I do not know, I cannot say. I came to believe that there is no ‘easy’ way to say goodbye. Death sucks in all of its many forms. Pain remains for those left behind to live through. The hurt remains. I am sorry for your hurt.

    Angel August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Your family is in my prayers.
    .-= Angel ´s last blog ..Should’ve Bought a New Dress =-.

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