In the Silence

In response to the questions asking about my long absence and am I still here, the answer is an unequivocal YES!

A little over six months ago I was devastated by the sudden and unexpected death of my dad. (“Father” seems too formal, “Daddy” a tad too intimate, though that’s who he’ll always be to me.) While I’m no stranger to the various faces of grief, grief of this magnitude is beyond the scope of my experience. And while I’ve often thought that I’d like to try and somehow convey the road I’m traveling, my companions Motivation and Desire have been conspicuously absent, as well as Inspiration.

The noise of life seems almost unbearable, in stark contrast to the silence of death.  Rationality can’t get an inroad into my heart’s grief – the reality and finality make it untenable.

Its a strange thing for somebody who loves to communicate to suddenly be thrust into a silence. Grief is like that. Silent and colorless. Foreign.

It rose with me in the morning, robbing the morning’s sunrise of color.

It moved through the day with me, weighing me down like a wet towel in the cool of a summer’s evening, making every thought and movement cumbersome.

The pieces of my heart’s breaking sink like stone in my belly, burying my appetite for life and sustenance somewhere deeply beneath it.

The sheer effort of trying to be a part of a life – a life that now has an enormous chasm in it – pushes out all but the most basic instinctual habits. Priorities get shifted so that whatever energy is mustered during the day goes to the responsibilities of family and engaging in the immediate lives around me. In the sum of it all, finding the “oomph” for re-engaging in a wider circle of life falls by the wayside.

Friends and family alike ask, “have you been writing? Taking pictures? Reading?” In other words,  basically anything that I’ve been passionate about since… forever. Nope. Haven’t been able to. ← (“Able” is the operative word.)

But time passes and it does get easier. That dense fog I seem to be moving though continues to dissipate a little each day.  I only get blindsided by the reality that he is no longer in this world (how can he not BE anymore?!) every other day – instead of every hour on the hour.

Its in the moments between being brought to my knees that I remember. I remember that words move me, buoy me, ignite me; that photographs draw me into the emotions evoked and suspended on the screen or in print; that stories carry me into a different reality for a space in time; that music takes me back into the soundtrack and rhythm of life.

Its a gradual re-awakening of the parts of me that grief dimmed. I realize its a process that has to be gotten through if I want to be able to continue truly LIVING my life. And I so do! So I’m getting back to good.

And I realize just how amazingly I’ve been blessed that I got to have such a rich and full life with him in it. I’d like to write and tell you all about him, but I’m not there yet. Baby steps.

Today is the beginning of the Lenten season. Contrition for faults and character defects that directly affect my usefulness in this world.

I attended an Ash Wednesday service this morning, its name taken from ashes daubed on my forehead as a sign of penitence. As the priest anointed me, he reminded me, “Remember you are dust and will return to dust.” Dad’s funeral flashed through my mind, an echo of those words resounding in my memory. I know not the time, nor the hour that these words will be uttered to those who will stand in the silence that I will leave behind. I felt a quickening inside, telling me to move along the shores of life and jump in – make a splash! – live out loud in the time I’m given.

Lent is an opportunity to do some spiritual housecleaning and pare it down to what really matters the most in this soul’s life.

  • It is a time in prayer with my Creator. Listening in meditation, as well as petitioning in prayer.
  • Giving alms in charity, love, and kindnesses given in service to others.
  • Fasting by setting aside my physical self and focusing on the spiritual. I deny my fallible humanness and fasting heightens my awareness. During the spiritual housecleaning I’m much better able to sort out the things that are cluttering up my life so that I can honor and rejoice in the important things and people in my life. Rejecting what no longer serves me well in preparation for an Easter renewal.

I’m settling into the silence of this Lent with a heart that still feels shattered. My fingers still drag over the keys with intention and effort. But just as I believe that the better part of my Daddy is ingrained inside of me, I know that this Lent holds a special purpose in the promise of the joy of Easter.

Namaste,

~me

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