Miles To Go

August 9, 2009

Yesterday, we drove – my mother, my sister and I – through the hot, dusty valley toward my father’s home, and we fought. A wrong word here, a raised eyebrow there, a tinder box of raw, snapping nerves and the flicker of a hint of a suggestion of an accusation, a tiny lick of angry flame and our grief exploded in waves of hot tears and sputtered words.

You don’t think I’m strong enough…

I’M not strong enough…

You don’t give me credit…

Nor you…

You’re not being fair…

You don’t understand me…

You don’t understand ME…

And all at once we were children again, squabbling and fuming, both of us directing every molecule of hurt and frustration toward the other, filling a moving car with our noise, daring our parents to intervene, to stop us (don’t you take her side, why do you take her side?) except that there was only one parent there, alone in the backseat, weeping as we shouted and as we stormed and we as removed ourselves from grief by cleaving to anger, forgetting Dad in that moment, in that long moment, because of course we could not have had that moment, just then, had Dad been there, because we wouldn’t have done it in front of Dad, not in our adulthood, anyway, because we just wouldn’t have, Dad wasn’t a man that you exploded in front of, because Dad was a man who emanated calm, a man who walked stillness, and even if we were to reach further back to when we were girls and Dad could not control us with his calm – what parent can simply will such tornadoes into stillness? -  Dad wouldn’t have stood for it, Dad would have pulled over and quietly insisted that we stop our fighting, right this instant – you girls love each other, he’d say, stop it; stop it now, and tell each other that you love each other – and that would have been that and we’d have stopped and we’d have hugged resentfully and then slouched in our respective corners and pouted and maybe stuck out a tongue or two but we’d have stopped and our anger would have dissipated and we’d have driven on, together, a family.

We’d have driven on, a family, always a family, us, bound by our love and our need and our strength and our weaknesses and our usness. We’d have driven on.

My sister gripped the wheel and I fixed my gaze on the horizon and Mom sat silently and we drove on, our anger and our hurt simmering and sputtering and cooling far too slowly and when we reached our destination we sat together in silence and wondered what to do next.

I  love you, you need to know I love you…

I know, I know…

I know…

Some things needed to be said.

I know. But you need to know…

I know.



And then we got out of the car and Mom took our hands and we walked to the place where we needed to be, to the place where we would need all of our strength, the strength that only comes to us through clasped hands and faith in love and family, the strength that only comes to us through our usness, through us.

We are walking there still, hurt and afraid, terribly hurt and afraid, but the cool pressure of our hands, twined together, reminds us that we are us, even in his absence, it reminds us that we are us and it calms us and soothes us a little, enough, and so we can go on, trying, like him, to walk in stillness and to somehow go on, go on.

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    Nina @ Playground for Parents August 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    That was beautiful. Your papa would be so proud. Be well. Wishing you comfort and support as you try to make sense of your tremendous loss.
    .-= Nina @ Playground for Parents´s last blog ..Snacks from Funky Monkey! Back to School Extravaganza! =-.

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