Wednesday, May 19, 2010

what stays

"...we don’t lose things, really, just like we don’t lose our childhoods. The children that we were stay inside of us, and so do the places that we’ve been."
~Journey Mama~

I read this the other day and felt an ache of knowing. Things do stay inside us, our childhood, the places we've been... and the people we've loved. My grief has taught me that. Sometimes when I see immense suffering I think my grief should feel small. But there is no sense in comparing. Loss is loss and it does not feel small when it grips your heart. Yesterday would have been my dad's birthday. He is always there but on certain dates I feel his absence more and I want to remember to give thanks for his life even though he's gone home. In my house there are many things made by my father. He was a painter and a craftsman. He made carousel horses and a lion for my sister. I used to marvel at how he could sculpt wood into something so perfect and graceful looking. When he died he had several works in progress in his workshop. So I have a half carved horse head in my house. It is a melancholy reminder in some ways of what was unfinished. What things will I leave unfinished? What things are important in my days? I ran my fingers through the rough grooves that were beginning to take form. I thought of the his careful hands slowly chipping away with his old worn tools, the hours, and the artistry. Just like people we love stay with us, so does the missing.
The other Sunday I sat on my front porch in a thunder storm. I watched as my brother carefully showed Juden how to whittle. I watched the blade shave away wood till the shape of a fish emerged. I cupped the wood chips in my hands and the smell and the sound of the rain made me feel like I was little watching my dad teach my brothers to carve. It made me thankful.