This poem felt appropriate today as we remember the death of my Dad, 4 years ago today. After a death we become silent somehow, shadowy, present but mute. I remember the first few days after my Dad died as a blur; the first few weeks as a haze; the first few months me as a mindless machine, sleepless, constantly working on papers--finishing grad school that semester was a blessing, so much to occupy my mind.
Though today I am no longer steeped in my grief, I find that loss is a cloak that is occasionally thrown over the shoulders, much to the surprise of the wearer. I still miss my Dad so much, so acutely some days that I feel sick to my stomach.
So, today I will listen for him: in my brothers' laugh, over a phone, hundreds of miles away; in the words of our song. I will see him in the fall leaves' brilliant colors and in the richness of the Farm at this time of year. I will think of him in the words my Auntie Louise sent to me after his death: "People say 'keep a stiff upper lip,' try talking like that! My greatest prayer and hope for all of you is that you will continue to live! Live life to the fullest! You don't have to dig a hole and pull it in after you. Do something amazing for yourself, with your life and or with someone!"
So, Benny, wherever you are today, I'm thinking of you.
"After a Death"
Once there was a shock that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail. It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy. It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires. One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun through brush where a few leaves hang on. They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories. Names swallowed by the cold. It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat but often the shadow seems more real than the body. The samurai looks insignificant beside his armor of black dragon scales.
-- Tomas Tranströmer, Swedish poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature