Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reflection 2


Don't hide your wings,
drawing them in tight behind your back,
putting pressure on the back of your head.


I love it when you
show your teeth
when you laugh.

Sunday, April 13, 2014



I woke up -
and the world was changed.
Washed clean, bathed in white
and shadows of robin's egg
yielding quietly to the light.


Rushing, she breaks,
seeking reprieve from restraint,
a burst of white
against an ancient black face,
the folds and creases,
the colors of the world
exposed by her violent persistence.
Frenzied, she crashes, reaches,
splits and lengthens.
Foam refracting light,
she climbs . . . lingers,
and sighing, returns to the sea.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


It's strange how being sick while trying to grasp the permanence of a loved one's death leaves you feeling like you will be sick for the rest of your earthly life. In the haze of the achy weakness that entangled me yesterday (after getting the stomach flu the night before), I caught myself almost consciously thinking this. Today, as should be expected, I have mostly recovered. I don't feel relieved about this. I'm not disappointed either. It seems like too small a thing to be concerned with.

I feel ever so very tired. As I try to remember the last few days, I can feel a restrained resistance rising up in me. I say restrained because I feel like it would be wild and desperate and nearly crazy if it weren't held back by my better sense and my love for all my family members and my Grampie. Remembering is good because of them, but still, it's like walking into Kansas wind. Difficult.

I saw his body (his shell, my grandma called it) on Thursday afternoon. The movement of the tears pooled in my eyes made it look like he was breathing. Or maybe, some part of my mind couldn't cope with seeing that face and those hands without any sign of life in them. Perhaps, it created a perceptual distortion to try to override reality. It was incredibly surreal.
Surreal is one of my favorite words and one of my least favorite. The dictionary defines surreal as 'having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream,' but if prefixes have any real meaning, the definition should literally be 'above reality' or 'with something in addition to reality.' It is more than reality. It is strong elements of reality mixed with strong elements of dreams or wishes or falsities. This sometimes results in a pleasant, magical kind of experience and often results in the uncomfortable disorientation you would expect when what you know is real is being countered by what you think might be a dream or a hope. I tend to experience surreal as magic: strange, exciting, and enchanting. I tend to like hopes and dreams better than reality, without being wholly given over to them, so it is kind of delightful when real and better-than-real are mixed in together. The combination creates both 'above reality' and 'in addition to reality.'
Seeing him (without him) was obviously the disorienting, intensely unsettling kind of surreal experience. It took me most of the time that we were there that afternoon to see the stillness in his shell and to recognize that my real hope was not that he was just sleeping, but that he is in glory with my dear, sweet King Jesus. I love my Jesus as my Hope. I am so deeply jealous of Grampie - that he gets to be with Father and Jesus, so close to them. At the same time, my heart is uplifted, rejoicing that my Jesus gets to be with his beloved Glenn. This joy is not the joy that happens to you when something nice occurs or the joy that you muster up for others when something nice occurs for them. It is a full-grown joy put inside of me.
(Okay, I know probably two or less people will read this, but I still feel the need to insert this disclaimer: I don't know if we go to be with Jesus immediately after we die or not. That seems sort of hazy. I do kind of feel though, vaguely and without any scriptural back up, that time is less important once we die, so somehow, everything I've said basically works in my mind).
It seems sort of contradictory to continue to talk about grief now that I've talked about joy, but feeling something positive in connection with someone's death doesn't dissolve the grief - all the sadness and confusion and frustration and heaviness of losing them and missing them, temporarily or not. So I continue.

I keep oscillating between the knowledge of reality and something that must be denial. I know that he's gone, but most of the time, I'm not ready to believe that he's gone. I want to believe that he's still in hospital, and he'll get better and come home soon. But I can't believe that anymore. I'm not allowed to. Sanity and Reality and Death have teamed up and deemed it so.
And so, I swing. I teeter-totter, up and down, and swing, back and forth between accepting reality and hating it. Half my life is unsettlingly surreal - shooting up towards the sky on the see-saw or curving backward on the swing. I've always found those sensations, those movements, disorienting and abnormal. I just want to leave the playground and go home.

I can't believe it hasn't even been a week since I held his hand. It's been so long.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I feel chaotically empty.

I want to write something beautiful and profound, more for my own comfort than anything else, but I don't have anything in me. I'm only writing because I wanted to write daily for as long as I can while this grief is present, but I am so very, very empty, and words mean so very, very little (and so much, when they come from others).
I want to say nice things. I want to talk about nice, heart-warming memories of my Grampie, like how he used to make cream of wheat with "all the fixings" (brown sugar and half-and-half) in the morning when we'd stay the night, how he'd hug us and rub his scratchy face on our little faces when he needed to shave, how he'd hand out the presents every Christmas Eve. But remembering is so hard right now, and it doesn't make any sense.
I don't know why it doesn't make sense, but it doesn't. It feels backward and inside-out and upside-down and weird. Nothing makes any sense right now.

Everything feels backward and inside-out and upside-down and weird.

 I don't feel like I have anything to feel. I don't feel numb. I don't feel shock. I don't feel angry. I don't feel sad. I don't feel relieved. I don't feel sorry.
But I do feel them. I feel all of them. I feel everything.
I feel tired, and I feel confused. I even feel embarrassed. I feel frustrated.

But mostly, I don't. Mostly, things just keep happening, and I just kind of happen with them.


I've thought about it all day without thinking about it at all.

Because I know I have to keep going. I need to keep my head clear. I just have three more papers and four more tests, and then I can think.

Once all this thinking is done, I can really think.

Monday, December 3, 2012


When I was little, Melody and I would turn our little selves upside down on the couch, the tips of our fine hair touching the carpet, while Grampie, sitting next to us, would tease and tickle us.
I feel a little upside down now.

When I saw him in the hospital last night, I knew he would probably leave us soon. He looked so much more restful then than he had that morning. I kissed his head and told him I loved him.
When I saw him in the nursing home the second time, I knew I would probably never hear his voice again. I don't even know what the last thing I heard him say was.
After he fell last year, I knew I would probably never walk around the lake with him again. When I moved in with him and Grangy for my freshman year of college, he walked around the lake every morning. Sometimes, I walked with him, and he would tell me stories about all the people he had known in all the places he had lived. We would walk to Quik Trip, and he would buy 'cappuccinos' for us.
When was the last time he smiled? When was the last time he hugged me?

Phrases of Christmas songs keep turning oddly in my mind.
"The fire is slowly dying, and my dear, we're still goodbye-ing..."
It seems to me that Grampie is that fire, and it is him we are goodbye-ing. I should say 'was' and 'were,' because the last glowing embers have gone out. But I am still goodbye-ing inside.

It's strange and disconcerting how grief comes in waves. For several hours, I'll feel fine. Then it'll crash into me, like a breaker reaching, rushing for the shore, seeping into the sand, fizzling into foam, and ending quietly. If a child sitting on a beach playing in the wet sand were washed over by such a wave, she would feel the same as I - the wind knocked out of her and her stomach churning from the mouthfuls of seawater accidentally swallowed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I wrote, "Last night, I was with a friend. We were supposed to be working on a school project, but we spent most of the time talking about his concern for a good friend of his and how he could best help her, what he could say to her. In that time, I saw, as Sawako (Kimi ni Todoke) would say, a new face of his. I saw my friend's face toward his good friend. It was full of care and driven to be the best friend he could be for her. It was amazing in a quiet, exciting kind of way. I felt honored to be trusted as his friend to see that face.
'How honored and loved I am,' I thought, reflecting on my experience, 'to be someone to whom Jesus will show his face towards his precious friends.'"