Some summer evenings R. Darling and I will take a trail near the lake, he on foot and me astride Bluebell. As the sun lowers itself into the velvety hills for the night, the last dying rays suddenly illuminate the chill waters of the lake and reflect back to us a vision of a world upside down. A world like the one I’ve come to know, in which things you thought were solid and infinite shift and waver beneath you, only to be shattered with a splash. The sudden loss and resulting emptiness spills over me as the ripples recede into infinity.
Though my mind has adjusted to the facts, my heart has not. When I dial the numbers I still, for a moment, expect to hear that familiar voice on the other end, “Oh hi honey! How’s my favorite daughter?” And I say something like, I’m OK. But you know I’m your only daughter, Dad. And he says, per usual, “I know. But you’re still my favorite.” It’s just not fair that Dad’s don’t live forever.
We picked up his ashes on Tuesday morning. When they placed the box in my hands I wanted to feel something momentous and worthy of the moment, but all I could do was marvel at how heavy the box felt as my hands encircled it. A lifetime of love, experience, joy, and heartbreak, reduced to this small box of ashes. The sadness swooped in later.
But I’m here and I’m still living. I’m returning to my blog because, well, Dad would have wanted me to. The forever aspiring writer, he would have encouraged this life I have here, this exercise in narrative. I wish now I’d have let him read it instead of keeping it secret. But perhaps somewhere, his soul knows and approves.
Many heartfelt thanks to all of you special people out there who e-mailed, commented, wrote, or just spared a moment for a positive thought for me and my family through all of this. You know who you are, and I am so grateful to each and every one of you. Your kindness has touched and comforted me in ways I can’t even begin to express to you and I am so thankful to have you all in my life. Here’s to hoping I can make it up to you someday, though hopefully under much happier circumstances. You are simply the best. I know Dad would agree.