I have always loved the classic June day– warm (not too), breezy (just a bit), sunny, fragrant, ripe with possibility. June is the month my husband was born, so we always start the month with a great celebration and try to keep it going as long as possible. This year, we celebrated with an absolutely fabulous meal at Serge on Madison Avenue, just a short walk from Penn Station. On the way home, we made up silly haikus about trying to find a seat on a crowded LIRR train. We take our fun where we find it, or go ahead and just make our own.
Milton finds a seat
Bernice rejects it and walks
Into the next car
Hwang’s bag is sitting
Where Lawanda wants to sit
No one’s happy now
June is also the month we lost my father, two years ago. It feels like it cannot possibly be that long ago, and at the same time it feels like he’s been gone forever. He visits in my dreams, but rarely says anything. A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed we were driving on a highway (he was driving, I was riding shotgun) and we were driving against traffic. All the other cars– two or three lanes of them– were coming toward us. Suddenly, he put the car in reverse, and we were back in the stream of traffic, just going backwards. That was his solution, to just go with the flow.
I took that dream as a metaphor for grief, at least that was how it felt. Grieving turns your life inside out and upside down. You become unmoored. Nothing is where it was, or where it is supposed to be. You can go for days, weeks, even, and everything will be normal and you’ll think, GOOD, I’m OVER IT, and then something will just hit you, and there you are, crying in the middle of the sidewalk while everyone else just keeps walking.
I don’t think you get over grief. I think you have to have get through it instead. It takes as long as it takes, and there is nothing to be done about it.
Over the next week or so, I’m going to be posting short snippets from my work-in-progress, Missing Dad. I started it writing it when he first went missing, so I wouldn’t forget anything (as if I could). It’s turned into a much larger work, about my family and how we got to that day and how we coped after.
June. It’s here again.