Once in a blue moon I am speechless.
And this day, of all days, I need to find words.
Had you been in my home fifteen minutes ago you would have seen a very different Mimi than the one you might have imagined. You know...the one who writes glowing sonnets tripping over a moonbeam of golden light in the middle of La-La land while dangling in a skirt and perfectly manicured nails - and let's not forget the feathered pen on golden threaded linen. Thoreau-ish? Not today.
Well, the nails are right. The rest? Not so much.
How, I asked the Universal Powers That Be, can I be expected to spout forth inspirational puff and fluff when all I want to do is rail against the indignity of the past five weeks. And loudly, I might add.
I am angry.
I am tired.
I am tired of being angry.
I am tired of being sick.
I am sick of goodbyes.
You see, when he was a living breathing roller coaster of complicated medical terminology, I could eek out a measure of hope. At least he was still breathing. Sometimes. I could imagine another day, another month, even another year at times...on the good days. Reality didn't pan out the way I wanted. Comas don't lie. No faith healer showed up. The best medicine in the world couldn't save him. I couldn't take away his pain nor could I erase what my eyes saw in that god-forsaken bed of hell he lay upon for thirty-two days and thirty-two nights after years of spiraling in and out of survivable mode. And now what do we have?
I hate it.
The truth is, sometimes life is beyond difficult - it is overwhelming. It is energy-depleting. It is raw. Watching someone die agonizing slow is not pretty. The memories are not pretty. And no matter how hard I try to fashion a tale of peaceful prose this full-moon night in the South, I can't.
So I stood in my house and let fly out of my mouth what I really wanted to write in this post complete with words a Queen shouldn't say and an entire upside down string section of sorrow...that I am exhausted and resentful. That I don't want to write a War and Peace novella on this blog for peace day. That I am human. That I am overwhelmed. That I miss my daddy. That I can't stand the thought of him lying in a box of dirt. That I wish I could have done more to ease his suffering. How inadequate I felt at times. How mortal.
Let him show you around. Will you do that for me?"
Daddy smiled and agreed.
They struck a bargain.
He said he'd never before or since felt inspired to ask anybody else to do that for him. After the service I reassured him he'd made the right choice. "That's a safe bet," I told him. "Daddy will keep his word."
Then he picked up a handful of dirt from the ground at his feet and laid it squarely at the head of my father's pine box coffin. It wasn't a pretty moment for me.
My emotions raged. Inside the core of that damn box lay someone I loved and I couldn't touch him or smell him or get to him again...oh but I could see the dirt fly up under his cleats and the spit in his eye darting cross the shortstop line one more time. Rounding third base and digging in home base dirt with a powerful unassuming charge as if to say "My work is done. Your turn." A flock of birds flew over and I knew he was making his flight towards home, seeing new sights, wondering at the design of the Universe..and yes, I knew the pastor's young son would be waiting to escort the aged ballplayer laughing through the park on a firefly night full of stars.
I stood in that sacred space last week. I saw redemption and grace in a split second of time when one breath ended and another began. I am here as a witness to tell you it is full of Spirit.
Daddy taught me to keep one foot on the base if I wanted to stay safe on a steal and to run like the wind in a split second of decision at the sound of his voice. When I told him on the day he died that is was OK for him to go....he took that safe-stealing foot and flew home. Just like that. At the sound of my voice. And just like his base-stealing eye always had my best interests in sight, so did my pigtailed pencil skirt heart feel him go.
I wanted to love him all the way home. I wanted to stand and cheer. I wanted to make his journey safe with both feet off the base so that he could fly into joy.
Sometimes peace comes kicking and screaming....as it did for me tonight... as it did for my dad in his final days. I am still struggling with the memory of those days. Sometimes the way to peace is not easy. But that doesn't diminish the promise. Nor should it delay the reality if we can help it. Even when peace comes knocking at the door all ugly and ragged and worn out - it's still full of hope.
It wasn't I who covered you, Daddy.
It was you who covered me.
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