Grief morphs, ebbs and flows, grows deafeningly loud, then silently steps to the side. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich pictured above was my Dad’s favorite lunch. Although, to be accurate, one would have to butter the bread before spreading the jelly and the peanut butter. And you have to eat each half separately. That was my Dad.
I just stopped in the middle of making that sandwich to weep, tell my Dad I missed him and write this down. It seems somehow imperative that I record the moment, sit with this feeling…and share it.
I’ve been writing a separate piece about Dad and my grief since he died. Here’s a more recent excerpt:
April 1, 2010
On my walk through the neighborhood behind the Catholic Church this morning, a hearse and limousine passed. I put my head down as they rolled slowly by on this brilliant, blue-skied, sun-filled morning and thought of riding in the limousine to Dad’s graveside service. The procession of cars went through small towns, and as we inched down a state road, several middle-aged men along the street stopped walking and put their hands over their hearts as we passed. I’d never seen anyone do this before and I could feel the heat of a sob working its way up my throat. A simple gesture of respect for the soul that passed by that I will always hold. I wanted to roll down the window and scream out, like Auden in his poem, “He is dead! He is dead. My father is dead!” I wanted to keen and wail. But I didn’t. I sat looking out the window at the stunning day unfolding and tried to memorize everything I passed.