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Obituary

October is chock full of rememberances and obituaries. A few days ago it was the 20th anniversary of my father's death, and it hit me harder than the others. Perhaps because the place in me where that grief lives has not healed so much as callused and frosted over, tight and aching as skin after a burn. Most days I trundle along just fine, but every so often I stumble into a conversational bear trap (especially of the kind my mother favours: "Oh I remember the day that I told you that your dad died, and your lower lip trembled and your eyes filled up with tears and you looked so so sad. Do you remember that day?") and I have to stop talking, I have to walk away because my throat shuts like a fist.

I am fiercely, ridiculously loyal to those I love and I'll probably keep missing him my whole life. Partially because it makes me so so sad that there's so much of the world that has passed him by - that he will never have a laugh with my husband or hold my child- and partially because it feels like it's the only thing I have left to give him. Because amongst other things that missing says: I have loved you and I will love you my whole life.

That and occasionally a lit candle and a note pinned to a church corkboard: For those who are still missed and loved as much as they were in life.

Last week my old boss died. She was an eccentric and extraordinary character who worked herself into the ground and had such passionate convictions. I miss her, greatly and I keep remembering things about her and feeling the simultaneous surge of hilarity and sadness.

Like the bright red lipstick she favoured, and the strange conceptual art she created and her passion for Tito and the colourful tales from her childhood ("And that was the night that my mother and little brother and I spent in a forest on a Montenegran mountain surrounded by wolves") and the fact that she wouldn't wear jeans because they were American.

She was always so bad at accepting gifts and seeking help, to the point of comic proportion - such as the fact that she never let anyone but her do the washing up. We all knew her cancer was terminal but she never talked about it, and she left work at the end of May and made herself (deliberately, I think) inaccessible. And then in the middle of last week, there she was, flaring in our minds like a firework so that all of us who had worked with her (even though we were scattered across many different offices) suddenly were thinking and talking about her, trying to find a way to check on her, to reach her. And the news the next day, that she had died.

And whether you call it coincidence, or the twanging of intuition that connects us to those we have loved, or the spirit of a woman saying goodbye- whatever it's name, there was a moment of something there, a pause in the stride, a shiver in the spine.

I dreamt of empty, snowy fields and it sunk in that she was gone.

Sometimes a dream is all you get of goodbye. And sometimes it's a postcard (To my Great Team, take care of yourselves. I miss you and wish you all the best), received the day after she died.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
land_girl
Oct. 20th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
As always you write beautifully of love and loss.
rainsinger
Oct. 26th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
thank you
On the other hand, it probably makes me dull company at parties. :)
minnesattva
Oct. 21st, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
I wish you didn't have the long experience that informs your words on these sad subjects, but I'm glad you can make something healing and useful to others as much as yourself out of what you have lost. So much of this resonates with me, though I have lived a life less touched by loss and grief.
rainsinger
Oct. 26th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
Your words are deeply comforting. Thank you.
dubaiyan
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
OMG :(
rainsinger
Oct. 26th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
Tis the season. :(

I translated that same reading at my memorial.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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