Seems obligatory to post. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my father’s death. I’m expecting to feel some great sense of relief on Monday. Ah, no more “firsts since …” And yet … I’m sure Monday will feel no different than today.
Strange reminders rear up. Middle daughter tells me of the middle school concert scheduled next weekend and I am reminded that last year I sat through the same concert with my phone in my hand, quite certain I would get “the” call during it. But no, it was later, when we went out to eat lunch at a restaurant I never really liked and to which I’ve not returned. It was noisy and I made my sister repeat what she called to tell me. Hard for both of us, and yet, it is death in the midst of living.
I know I won’t ever “get over” this. The week that I spent with him as he was dying (but not yet gone) still feels like the time in my life when I was most connected to breath, to energy, to life. I suppose there is nothing like watching someone else breathe with the expectation that each shallow breath will most likely be the last to keep you centered on that.
I’m not the same. I’m not fundamentally changed. I’m not sure that is possible. But I am more deeply rooted. I suppose that sounds odd to people who feel their fathers are their anchors. But death this close has grabbed me by the lapels and forced me to consider what matters … what truly, deeply, sustainably matters.
As I read through blogs this morning, and I couldn’t even tell you which ones or what they said, but I had this sensation of finding myself with my nose pressed to the glass of faithfulness, of the comfort one finds in truly believing and loving God. Is this, I wondered and find myself still wondering, the hunger that is stirred by death? Can it be filled, this wanting to connect beyond my own small needs? We feed it by different means, I think: through art, song, service, prayer, even (I’m told, as this has never been my way) through physical movement.
I’m giving myself these few moments to consider this anniversary and the ground I’ve covered this last year, and then it is time to resume the other work, the laundry, the groceries, the … pedestrian stuff of living. Ah, yes, but this, too, is living–the remembering, the longing, and the desire to identify that which I am longing for.
I’m feeling the need to be held, today. Held not physically, though that, too, would be nice. But held in the strength of an abiding love. Perhaps this is where my nose leaves smudges on glass. I have conjured you, dear God, to be the supplier of that love I have neither earned nor deserve, and I have conjured you as someone who neither desires or requires my love in return. And perhaps this is what I long for , dear God, the ability to love what I have conjured with the understanding that that love will sustain me–not the love I receive, but that which I spread around. Let me pull my nose from the glass now and focus myself outwardly, once more. Amen.