Death. It's not a final, an end, a finish.
It goes on. It goes on in the experience and memory of the living. It goes on and on.
It's been four months now since my father died. Four months worth of days that I could have talked to him on the phone about the commonplace things that happen, meaningless except for conversation purposes. How was your day? How did work go? What's new? What did you do this afternoon? It is not meaningless. I don't take it for granted now. I know that a simple conversation about nonsense can easily become a prized, last conversation. The last chance to hear that voice.
It's been four months of changing my outlook. The important and life altering is just not anymore. The tiniest moment becomes so much more valuable, and the instances that used to be crucial are just dust, non-essential. The four months of reminders that this day is more important in the long run, that this day is finite, that this day becomes valuable as a memory only if you remember it. Not as a blur of stress and worry, not as a check mark on a calendar.
Four months ... Individual days aren't important in grief. Grief attacks like a sniper, it doesn't gradually wane and vanish, it just waits in hiding.
I thought I was doing well. Until I started cleaning my flowerbed. I had been given a large amount of bulbs from a friend last fall, and planted many of these at my fathers house in a vacant flower bed there. But I had several left, and tucked them into the flowerbed at the side of my driveway.
Today I was outside cleaning, and took the rake to the buildup of leaves on top of the soil in the flowerbed. My memory spiked as soon as I saw the black dirt underneath. My dad watched me at his house last fall, struggling to remove a tree seedling that had grown into this vacant flower bed. He was too weak to help himself, but offered me a pair of clippers, then a short hand saw, and finally sat back on the patio chairs with a smoke and watched quietly while I struggled with the sapling.
It doesn't matter if those bulbs sprout and grow, it just matters that I remember that day. That was not a day that stood out as a substantial memory in the making. It was just a day. It was just a day that, even though him and I didn't have a meaningful conversation, almost no conversation at all while I fought with the sapling, but I had his presence and another moment like that, that will just never happen.
So many people don't discuss grief. So many bottle up the moments that matter and wipe away the tears. I am just not that person. In sharing any grief I feel exponentially better. I never know who reads these ramblings, I don't hear feedback, I don't write for a reason, but I imagine there may be one person out there in grief, it's a silent secret kind of grief when you don't talk about it. But we should.