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.

Allies?

Always.

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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    { 101 comments }

    Laura August 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    So sorry for this sudden loss. I have been thinking (and praying!) for you.

    Bon August 9, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    it is good to have an ally, one who can weather the lashing out that is part of hurting. that alliance is a little testament to your dad.

    i am so sorry about your dad, Catherine.
    .-= Bon´s last blog ..tangle =-.

    MommyNamedApril August 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    i’m so sorry for your loss. i’m glad you have your sister there with you.
    .-= MommyNamedApril´s last blog ..Sunday Citar =-.

    Julie August 9, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Keep holding each other. One day at a time. Julie

    Emma August 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Wishing you were all brought together in much happier circumstances, with that stabilizing force keeping the calm.

    Thinking of you.
    .-= Emma´s last blog ..Rollercoaster =-.

    Michelle August 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    just {{hugs}}

    Sharon August 9, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Just a note to wish you strength thru this terrible situation. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Melissa Wardy August 9, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Very sorry for the loss of you beloved father. I hope the next days, weeks bring you strength and love from those you need it from.

    Your writing moves me. I love reading your blog. I am so pleased you use your gift so well.

    Sending you thoughts of peace,
    Melissa

    Haley-O August 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Don’t know what to say you who has all the words, as always — even for the unspeakable. Thinking of you and your family. ((hugs))
    .-= Haley-O´s last blog ..Work in Progress: I Can Totally Do It All =-.

    Karen MEG August 9, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    I’m so,so sorry for your loss, Catherine, and I hope you, as I have, find strength in the bonds of your family. My Dad was our calm, our rock, and to be honest, sometimes I have to pretend that he’s still here, to deal.

    Thinking of you during this very sad time. xoxo
    .-= Karen MEG´s last blog ..Weekly Winners – Summertime =-.

    Amanda August 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Thinking of you and your family, of origin and of your making. Peace to both.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..The smell of then =-.

    Amber August 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Warm thoughts for you and your family.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Failed Again =-.

    Marilyn August 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Your recent posts have really touched me and I have cried while reading each one. I very much hope that you and your family know that so many are thinking of you and can gain a little strength from that knowledge.
    .-= Marilyn´s last blog ..What’s That Sound? =-.

    Eliza August 9, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Sending warm thoughts of Aloha during your time of intense emotional loss. Glad you have a sibling at your side as well as a mother. Remember to sit in the Sun if the dark gets too much. Malama ~
    .-= Eliza´s last blog ..Summer Solstice 2009 =-.

    Karen August 10, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I’m so very very very sorry for your loss.

    D. August 10, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Narrate, live, cry, do whatever you need to do to get through each moment. I can’t fathom your loss, but you have my prayers for love and peace in the midst of what must be overwhelming grief.
    .-= D.´s last blog ..The Best Way to Use Vinegar In Your House (aside from cooking) =-.

    Karen Sugarpants August 10, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Been thinking of you lots. Know I am right here, in your corner. Big hugs to you. xo
    .-= Karen Sugarpants´s last blog ..There is Nothing Cute About Disease-Ridden Bugs. Period. =-.

    Susan August 10, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Catherine: Praying for you all as you begin this journey on the road that never ends, the road of pain and sorrow, missing and wanting, the final goodbye.
    Just know that the rawness of death will subside and life will move forward, creeping and crawling, and slowly, oh so slowly just the thought of him, the thought of days gone by, will bring smiles and tears but most of all joy.
    I will be praying and thinking of you all in the moments and days ahead, as you prepare to say your last earthly goodbyes to the greatest man you’ve ever known, your dad. Love, Susan

    Leslie August 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. Wishing you peace and strength in this time of grief.

    Danielle August 10, 2009 at 11:31 am

    when my small children fight they make up by saying ‘brother and sister forever, friends for life’. i hope that they will have this sentiment with them as adults, they way you and your sister are allies at this terrible time.

    wishing you the best.

    Mandy August 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    So deeply sorry for your loss.
    .-= Mandy´s last blog ..Non Sequitur =-.

    Sheri August 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    so so sorry…but so glad for your “us”
    .-= Sheri´s last blog ..nothing =-.

    kgirl August 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Just came online after days – I’m so sorry, Catherine. Truly. I know how horrible this is. Peace and strength and love.
    .-= kgirl´s last blog ..She Had To Have Known I Was Going To Blog This =-.

    Loural August 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I am so so very sorry and my heart breaks for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers and lots of love during this time.

    Loural

    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com August 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Oh, Catherine, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. Take care of yourself.
    .-= Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com´s last blog ..Naming the Princess Charlie. =-.

    Mary August 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I, too, have been there. Let your friends and family buoy you through these difficult hours and days.

    If someone asks how they can help, take that marker, let them know “Yes, please, right now I’m not sure what needs doing but when I do I’ll phone you” Then call them, when you need to step out for a coffee, or want to talk, or you need some laundry done – whatever…

    Much love as you work through this.

    Mary

    Aidan Donnelley Rowley August 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t know you. You don’t know me. And yet. You are now experiencing something impossible, torturously impossible.

    As I read your whispered words, the tears, my tears, welled up. Because in your beautiful, uneven, profound, instinctive musings, your pain is utterly, profoundly palpable. Because one year ago, I lost my own father. And, no, these experiences are not fungible. It’s never the same. No, I don’t know what you are going through. No one does. But you. But reading your words, I was hurled back one year to the day when everything changed, when my childhood came to a screeching halt. On that day, I became a different person. Not better or worse. Different.

    And today. I am that person, but a bit better. Because time is the only hand that will pull you through this. Time. And family. And your own lovely words.

    I don’t know you, but I am thinking of you. For whatever that’s worth. Not much, I know.
    .-= Aidan Donnelley Rowley´s last blog ..Change Your Mind =-.

    RookieMom Heather August 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    So heart-wrenching. Hard to believe things will get easier. Sending you my best thoughts.

    Someone told me, “some day this will just be another thing that happened” and that bitch was right.
    .-= RookieMom Heather´s last blog ..Activity #590: Give longer life to your cutest kids shirts =-.

    Dawn August 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Even in grief, your words are achingly, devastatingly beautiful. I am so sorry to read this news and am sending all of my anonymous internet love your way.
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..Oh Bryn! You see in the dark… Right past the fireflies that sleep in my heart =-.

    Jean August 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I am so sorry, there are no words to take away your pain…your writing is eloquent and beautiful…

    Nel August 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    This breaks my heart.

    I wish there was some magic pill that could take the pain of death away. I know everyone says it but it WILL get easier. I promise you that.

    I am so very sorry.
    .-= Nel´s last blog ..Friends Don’t Let Friends Text & Drive =-.

    Debbie in Memphis August 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love, warmth and hugs to you and your family.

    Hannah August 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Having just had a screaming fight with my younger sister, a fight in which we both behaved like children, this resonated so. Because we need someone to say to us “stop it, you’re sisters, now hug each other right now”. There wasn’t anyone, and now she has decided not to hear me or speak to me.

    I can only imagine how much worse I would feel if I were grieving a loss at the same time.

    Karen\ August 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you in this incredibly difficult time.
    .-= Karen\´s last blog ..We Have a Winner!!! =-.

    Annie August 10, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Oh Catherine. So much love to you and your family.

    Tina@SendChocolate August 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    “Sorrow shared is sorrow halved.” Yeah, I think it’s bullshit, too.

    But thanks for letting us share in yours… much strength and peace sent to you and your family.

    T.
    .-= Tina@SendChocolate´s last blog ..RIP John Hughes, your legacy lives on with my kids =-.

    Jenny, Bloggess August 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Love, Catherine. Just love and peace. And my dearest hope that you find joy again soon. He’d want you have it.
    .-= Jenny, Bloggess´s last blog ..It’s just coincidental that Victor got stabbed right after I wrote this. I didn’t even stab him. Some guy named Bill did. I’m the one who drove him to go get a tetanus shot. If anything, I’m a hero. =-.

    angela August 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Catherine, I’m so sorry for this terrible loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    WonderSpot August 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine the hurt and the fear. Love and peace your way…
    .-= WonderSpot´s last blog ..Lamer than Lame =-.

    Kathleen August 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Catherine,
    What you are documenting, so courageously, is real-life tragedy. I also have a sister with whom I share one heart. I imagine we’d be similarly fragile and dangerous electrical live wires if in your shoes.

    You are strong, you are allies, you are loved. Nothing can prepare you for dealing w/your father’s death. Nothing. If you have the courage, please keep writing. You are helping many.
    .-= Kathleen ´s last blog ..kathleenblastpr: Cooking dinner for the hubby and I whilst he "watches" Max and Ruby w/Cyrus. So adorably sweet… =-.

    Kathleen August 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    may the peace and love of the entire universe envelope you and your family.

    Mom101 August 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I am holding your hand from here.
    .-= Mom101´s last blog ..Daddy. My own. =-.

    Lindsay August 10, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I am heartbroken for you.

    califmom August 11, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Tears. Shock. Hope for peace.
    .-= califmom´s last blog ..I Should Tell The Neighbor =-.

    GingerB August 11, 2009 at 12:45 am

    My thoughts are with you and your family. I wish I could send you a cheesy potato casserole, which doesn’t heal the pain but,you know, cheesy potato meals are comforting in an I can’t figure out what else I can do for you way.
    .-= GingerB´s last blog ..Haiku Friday – the camping shuffle =-.

    Glennia August 11, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Oh, my dear…sending much love your way. Wrap yourself in it and know that we are all thinking of you.
    .-= Glennia´s last blog ..To Blog or Not to Blog? That is the Question =-.

    RuthWells August 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I’m so, so sorry. I feel surrounding by loss of fathers this week.
    .-= RuthWells´s last blog ..Fun with Google Analytics =-.

    maggie, dammit August 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Earlier this week my world stopped too when my father-in-law landed in ICU while we were on vacation together. We’ve been living since Tuesday in a foreign land, far from home, teetering on the edge of everything holy. It shocked me that the world kept spinning except then I saw your awful, awful loss and I felt a terrible kinship. You don’t know how much comfort you brought me, even in your most wretched hour. Just feeling like someone got it. I hope you understand what I’m bungling here.

    Anyway, I am so profoundly sorry for your loss, Catherine. I’m just so sorry, but even in hell your words shine fiercely white.

    A'lis Richardson August 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Just read all of your recent posts. So very sorry for your tragic loss. I follow you on twitter and I am just now finding out. I lost my sister 6 weeks ago and have been having a hard time dealing with the my own loss. We too suffered (because it is a terrible experience)an investigation which left more questions than answers. Thank you for your blog. It helps me know someone else “gets it”. You have had the courage to write words I have only had the courage to think quietly to myself. So Thank You.

    Al_Pal August 13, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    My thoughts are with you.

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