July 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
i told my dad: so just leave now. or maybe: when that day comes, go ahead and go. but i’ll cut off the relationship. and i’ll be very angry. and i won’t want to stay in touch. when he said that after my mom died, he would rejoin the seminary and renounce his earthly family.
i know i am dreaming about g. i try not to stand in the way when waves of grief overtake me. i cry in public, sitting in my car in the bank teller line or on the bench as x plays on the jungle gym. it’ll pass if i just let it happen. grief like he’s dying. it feels like he’s dying.he’s not going to get better. it’s too hard, and there’s nothing that works. i know that’s the story spun by his illness. my story, triggered by his illness, is this: i’ll always be left. if i love someone, that person will leave. if i love someone, that love will make the person leave. it is my love itself that will make the beloved withdraw, ambivalent. my love is disgusting in its excess. my love is painful to experience, as the imminence and inevitability of abandonment. this is the story. this is the story. as soon as i type it out i feel my chest constrict into panic, my eyes burning.
so i try to change the story. i sit in front of my altar where i have placed the candles i once bought for myself when i moved to the little house in west sacramento, finally alone, finally on my own. there is the clay sculpture of the dark skinned ocean goddess, her skirts flowing with jellyfish, her arms bearing coral. there is the ceramic box cradling two origami swans that my friend sat folding without thinking at a meeting once. the requisite virgen vela. a streamlined wooden figurine of mother mary–different from la virgen–with eyes downcast and hands folded in prayer. a gift from my mentor, my surrogate grandmother. i light incense and work on changing the story.
of course he wants to die; he’s depressed
many people face this situation–disability, unemployment
there are always things we can do to get better
i believe in the possibility that things can get better
and so i pray:
may i be fearless in the face of loss
may i be courageous
may i be curious
may i be kind to myself
may i stay open and tender
may this suffering awaken
and when you are gone
i still have my writing
i still have my daughter
my work in the community
i have a chance to breathe
and not to worry
until you return.
it doesn’t make the grief go away
it doesn’t change the reality of loss
but it changes my relationship to it.
it doesn’t make the fear go away
yet it cultivates a fearlessness.
a friendliness that greets and bows
and says, yes, please come in,
i know you.