"I feel I've got 10 books in me."- Robert Hunter
I love this quote from Robert Hunter, lyricist for the Grateful Dead. Not only does it mean he has so many stories to share, but you could also take it literally and understand how bogged down he feels when he doesn't write. I have gone a while without writing. That's never a good thing for me. My soul becomes heavy and icky. It's an elephant on my chest feeling to me. So, today, I write.
Robert Hunter's lyrics are so perfect. He explains details in ways that make the words dance around in your head. They are like verbal cotton candy to me. His most famous line, "What a long, strange trip it's been." could be a writing within itself today.
In 12 days, I will have been without my dad's physical body, voice, smile, laugh, scent... here on earth for one year. One whole year. It has definately been a long and strange year. One that has brought heartache and struggle, but I cannot dismiss that I have grown and accomplished things in this year that I may not have done without the sheer determination of my dad in my heart, cheering me on. I am grateful for that. I don't know how many days in this year I have had to peel myself out of bed to make it another day. I cannot count how many times I have had to excuse myself from a simple dinner or a conversation to go cry. I cry behind the camera at every father/daughter dance. I get teary just writing that.
"Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell,
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul"- "Brokedown Palace"
It's amazing how true it is that, "you never know what you've got, until it's gone." I mean, I knew I loved him while he was here. But I didn't know how much I depended on him while he was here. There are too many times I have wanted to pick up the phone and talk to my dad. I still have his messages on my voice mail, every single one verbally signed with an "I love you" at the close of it. But listening to a message just doesn't cut it for me. It feels so flat. I want to hear him laugh at my airheadedness sometimes, or guide me through something I need help with. I want my dad. That's just it.
"There is a road, no simple highway, Between the dawn and the dark of night. And if you go, no one may follow. That path is for your steps alone."- "Ripple"
I haven't walked the path of this last year alone. I will make that clear. I have had many people help me back up when I have stumbled. I have had alot of bumps and bruises along the way, especially personal ones. Some, I don't even care to remember because in the light of things, they didn't really matter. The big picture trumped them, and now those things have been put into perspective for me, and they have found their place on a shelf in my past. But the personal journey I find myself on, the one for only my steps, continues to evolve. I thank my parents for that. I'm strong-willed. I am ambitious and stubborn. I work hard and harder if I think something is just beyond my reach. All those things could have been the matter that make up the person my dad was. Those traits were not born into me, they were learned.
"Saint Stephen will remain, all he's lost he shall regain,
seashore walk by the suds and the foam,
been there so long, he's got to calling it home.
Fortune comes a calling, calliope woman,
spinning that curious sense of your own." - "St. Stephen"
Even with the loss of my father, even with that giant void, I am still blossoming. I am in a new reality, and though I don't like it most of the time, I have to call it my home now. Because this is where I live now. A world that exsisits without my dad's physical form in it.
I remember clinging to one thought through his last day. I remember comforting myself with the notion that my dad's outer shell, his cocoon, was what was in the bed struggling. It looked like my dad's face, his arms, his hands, his legs, his feet; but it was not his soul. I remember telling myself that God would not have made a man so strong to suffer like this now. I knew in my heart of hearts that God had already taken his soul to paradise. That his outward body was only suffering because the most important part of him, the part we all miss now and what made him who he was, was no longer residing in that body. He shed his cocoon, to spread his wings in paradise. I could never ask him to return