Sometimes, perhaps I am just reading a poem by Mary Oliver "Now is my father / Walking the wind, / Sniffing the deep Pacific / That begins at the end of the world." and his face bursts into my mind's eye. And grief's knife twists in my soft underbelly. To know that I can never again cup the cheek of his nubby face or feel him pat my back -- how do you live through this?
How do you learn to be fatherless in the world, after carrying him with you for over half a century? Is it from the same strength that breaks open the spirit of a man when he learns that finally, finally, he will have a child? The same desire to stretch forward into the forever of life? The same joy of vicarious accomplishments? The same fierce protectiveness?
I cannot walk this world alone, so I am glad he showed me how he talked to his father. How, long after my grandfather was dead, my father would point to a flower in his yard, a tomato in his garden, a fish in his net, and say "Ahhh. What do you think of that, Cap?" pronouncing "think" as "tink," the way the Cajuns, his people, do. I am glad he talked with me about his journey with his Father, who walked with him through the dark times he knew we both shared, who showed him how to concentrate on that tiny speck of light at the other end of the tunnel, and keep moving, keep moving, just keep moving: this darkness, too, shall pass.
I will carry my father with me, as I will all fathers, and my Father, such that I have, asking Great Mother to make him room, make him room, for I need both as I go forward from this, and each day from here on, without his booming spirit on this earthly plane.