Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my father.
Sometimes these thoughts wrap me in a blanket of melancholy. Other times they bring on a smile or even an audible laugh.
The stupidest things remind me of him – like my daughter asking me if I ever saw “Bedtime for Bonzo” (she was reading about Ronald Reagan). I never did see it, I told her, but Papa used to say that all the time as he corralled me up to bed…“Bedtime for Bonzo!”
I don’t recall whether that expression was met with a giggle or a groan…but I remember him saying it…I can hear him saying it…with a grin.
Last weekend we got together for a family dinner at my mother’s house. All together there were eight adults, nine children and two dogs. It was a beautiful evening and everyone was outside. The children and dogs were running around in the late afternoon sun. As we sat there in one of my father’s favorite places – the terrace, under the wisteria vines – I just had a feeling that we were all thinking about dad.
Sometimes when this happens, I’ll bring a voice to it – I’ll say, “I really miss him.”
Other times I feel it’s better to just sit with that sensation – that he is in the air all around us. We don’t have to say it out loud. It just is.
I have the hardest time explaining how it feels sometimes – the sensation of missing someone so much, yet simultaneously feeling as though he is everywhere, permeating everything…especially in that house, on that terrace.
I know those of you who have lost a loved one know what I mean…
They never really cease to be…HERE.
I just finished a book yesterday…one of those books you are sad to finish. Below is an excerpt that I have read over and over and over…because it explains so perfectly this sensation of which I speak….
“Torrents of text messages, tides of cell conversations, of television programs, of email, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters and metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefore and Evian, and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again. I’m going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail, and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever shifting landscapes we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel these paths? That [they] might harry the sky in flocks like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.” – excerpt from All The Light We Cannot See
I asked one of my girls to read the above passage to me as I typed it out for you. When we were finished I asked her if she understood what it meant. She said no, so I explained it to her…
If we are constantly surrounded by words and information and messages of love that we cannot see…can’t we also believe that the souls and the words of the dead may also be swirling around us, all the time?
I could tell she found the idea of it a bit unsettling…that the souls of the dead are flying and flowing all around us.
I can understand that, especially if you imagine some of the less pleasant souls making their rounds, but…
To me, because of my father, it feels like love…everywhere…
“If you listen closely enough…”
“They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.”
…the air a library…