It’s been 23 years today since my dad died. Grief is such a strange, personal thing. Some years on this day I feel just a whisper of sadness and other years my grief is loud and long. Some years I relive the entire day as it played out so many years ago, and other years I merely glance at the clock and recognize that yes, this was that moment–the moment my brother came in to my place of employment to tell me that it was time to go to the hospital, the moment when I called my friend to tell her I couldn’t go out with her that night because my dad had died, the moment when the doctors brought me a tiny pill to try to stop the wailing and hyperventilating that was coming from me–so many moments in an ordinary (to everyone else) day.
This year is one of the in between years of grief for me. It helps that I had to shuttle the twins to a birthday party this morning, and then return to collect our oldest, pack a lunch and head to the RWB Studio for dance classes. Keeping busy helps. But it doesn’t stop me from pausing and recognizing the moments. And realizing (or re-realizing) that my dad will never be at one of my children’s ballet recitals. Or Holiday concerts. Or anything at all. And then my heart begins to really hurt and long for what is lost.
Sitting in the Starbucks
Across the street from the dance studio
Waiting for the kids to finish
I glance up at the clock.
It is 11:35.
Ten minutes until ballet class is over.
Ten minutes until I first knew that today was the day you would die.
In a few moments I will walk back and collect two kids from ballet
And send another one in to the next class.
In a few moments I will dash from the table I am serving,
Nodding at my boss that I need to leave.
I’ve been waiting for this moment.
There will be so many
more moments today
At a certain point this afternoon I will pick up a book from the library
That’s been on hold for me.
At a certain point this afternoon I will call my friend and cancel
Our evening plans.
At 8:00 this evening I will tuck my children in to bed
And tell them how dear they are to me.
‘I love you’ I will say.
At 8:00 this evening I will stand by your bedside
And tell you how dear you are to me.
‘I love you’ I will say.
And the words will seem inadequate
And they are.
Yet they are
All I have to offer.
A day made up of moments.
Moments to remember.
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