Writing about loss is hard, but this is a start

I previously said that writing is “my thing.” Writing is how I process something and writing is how I heal. I sit down with a notebook and pen or a laptop and cup of coffee and write. But lately that hasn’t been the case. Notebooks gather dust on a bookshelf and my laptop sits unopened, a protest of sorts. C5ANFS4K5J.jpg

I haven’t had the words. How can I write about something that I am feeling so deeply? How can I express that while I am making a conscious effort to be present, I still think about my dad every day? I still don’t have all the words, but I can feel them coming back to me, a little each day.

Oddly enough, I started feeling like writing again when I heard Wesley Schultz, the lead singer of The Lumineers, talk about losing his father. He describes the time that passed after his dad died as a blur and although he knew his father was gone, it didn’t really hit him until a few months later. He couldn’t find any of his black socks and he knew his dad still had clothes in his drawers so he went to grab some in a rush and pulled out a pistol. He thought he knew everything about his dad and at that exact moment he realized his dad was really gone because he couldn’t ask him anymore questions, like why he owned a gun.

I feel the same way. I miss my dad all the time, but I miss him the most when I desperately want to talk to him or ask him for advice. He gave the best advice and always made me feel better. I miss him each day it gets warmer outside and stays light longer because I know he loved this time of year. Mostly, I miss being able to tell him how much I love him. Although I have a feeling he knows that.

Writing about loss is hard, but this is a start.

Too soon

I’ve avoided writing because writing makes it real, but more than that, writing is such a small act that will never properly explain the person you are and the difference you have made in my life and the lives of those around you. But, as you knew all too well, writing is what I do.

Too soon. Those are the words that come to mind when I think about the dad-shaped hole in my heart and life. You were taken too soon.

When someone is taken from you suddenly and unexpectedly, you think about the last time you talked and the last time you saw the person. For me, it was a phone call the day before you died and it was to tell you Happy Birthday and I love you. I mailed a card to you the same day, a card you will never open and a card I haven’t had the heart to open myself.

My silent hope is that with every time that we talked and spent time together you also heard the words that were there but not necessarily spoken – thank you for shaping and molding me into the person I am today, I am so proud of you, you have always been my hero, I will never outgrow the need for your advice, support, and tea recipe when I am sick, and I’ll love you forever.

For now, those are the words I have.

Love,

Your little girl

Support follows tragedy

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I am blown away from the kindness that has been shown to my family after a death this week. Current friends, old friends, acquaintances and neighbors swarmed to offer sympathy.

One visitor, came over and asked a family member if she could mow her own lawn. Odd question, right?

She is an older lady and she explained that while she was growing up, when there was a loss people didn’t mow their lawn, work outside and tried to be as quiet as possible out of respect.

This was a tremendous show of respect from a neighbor.

There is so much sadness surrounding loss that it is incredible to see people come together, put aside differences and help put the broken pieces back together.

“Don’t pay no mind to the demons; They fill you with fear. The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone; Cause I’m going to make this place your home. ”

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People will always help people

It’s days like today when it’s really easy to let hate consume you. At least three are dead and 141 are injured after explosions in Boston today. I sat in the newsroom at work watching live coverage of the explosions.

“No motive, no one in custody.”

“Terror attack at Boston marathon.”

“Several victims are facing limb-threatening injuries.”

“Domestic or foreign terrorist?”

These are titles that can be seen on news stations after two explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon. The first explosion occurred just before the finish line and the second went off two blocks away.

My stomach turned and heart broke as I watched the smoke and people being removed from the area without limbs. The Associated Press posted a man being wheeled away without legs. Not is it ever okay in any situations to lose a limb but to know these people are losing their legs and their passion is running makes it all the more mortifying.

I watched the early coverage when they did not have a lot of facts. They kept saying there was a silver lining. The slim slice of silver lining was the fact the medical tent was close to the explosions. They stated at least the police officers, firemen and EMS were nearby. A man being interviewed stated the image that will be forever in his head are the people from the medical tent running to the explosion site and the volunteers who stayed on scene passing out water bottles, blankets.

How could this happen? How could an occasion of people making their dreams come true, and marking items off their bucket list be demolished to a scene of terror and mass casualties in a matter of seconds?

I didn’t come up with any good answers. There aren’t any good answers. Some lives were taken. Others were forever altered today. I do not understand why or how this happened.

What I do know is people will always come together. They will always help one another. They will always try to take each other’s pain away. The people who ran towards the smoke without a second thought of their own safety: thank you. To those who finished the race and ran to donate blood to those inured: thank you.

Today is a day that doesn’t make sense, but we need to remember that sort of humanity exists.

People will always help people. I’ll leave you all with an appropriate Fred Rogers quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

Armageddon in Retrospect

I finished reading Armageddon In Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut tonight. The book features a collection of short stories on war along with a letter home from Vonnegut and a speech he wrote but died before he was able to deliver it. 

It also includes an introduction by Mark Vonnegut. In the introduction his son even says he found himself wondering “How on earth does he get away with some of this crap?” And he does. Vonnegut gets away with saying these things.

Some passages I found memorable from the collection of short stories are below: 

“I consider anybody who borrows a book instead of buying it, or lends one, a twerp.” 

(after Vonnegut asked his son what life was all about) 
“We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is.” 
“Whatever it is. Not bad. That could be a keeper.” 

And how should we behave during this apocalypse? 
“We should be unusually kind to one another, certainly. But we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot.”

My advice to writers just starting out? Don’t use semicolons…all they do is suggest you might have gone to college. 

“We accepted their congratulations with good grace and proper modesty but I felt then as I feel now, that I would have given my life to save Dresden for the world’s generations to come. That is how everyone should feel about every city on earth.” -Wailing Shall Be In All Streets

“Don’t never mess with time. Keep now now and then then. And if you ever get lost in thick smoke, child, set still till it clears. Set still till you can see where you are and where you been and where you’re going, child.” -Great Day

“Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else and all of a sudden this great stuff came rushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.” 

Vonnegut ends the speech included in the book in true Vonnegut fashion:

And I thank you for your attention, and I’m out of here.