It gets easier with time, mostly, as things tend to do. Sometimes, though, it still isn’t softer or kinder. Sometimes I wake up made of thorns and fire.
It didn’t happen overnight, the way it does for some, the way you slipped into a spirit to me.
My bones ached a little with guilt that day, knowing that we were supposed to be celebrating you and instead, I felt more like I was hiding from you. It feels disrespectful to those that can’t pick up the phone and call; they’d give anything to hear his voice. I don’t know how to do that, how to share bullet points of my life with you like you didn’t used to be my favorite person. It’s safer to protect my memories, my biggest cop out.
Lucky for me, I’m in love with a human who suggested a morning on the water, an activity just for me. We lugged my monstrosity of a paddle board out to the bay and I climbed aboard. She ain’t pretty, but she’s sea worthy- her and I are a perfect pair. It was a choppy day and more than once, I found myself very nearly going for a chilly swim. I couldn’t have cared less either way.
It didn’t come naturally for me to cry then, with the wind and the spray from the ocean greeting my skin. I stopped being angry for the moment too. Instead, I paddled to the quietest space I could find and I sat perfectly still, with my feet underwater. I put my head back to the sky and simply said “thank you” – for the brightest spots of me that I inherited from you. I celebrated our shared love of solitude and the sea, the trees, coffee that is strong enough to rot your stomach, and also a small bit of the stubbornness that gave me no option other than to say “yes, I can” to schlepping the 12 foot beast into the car, strapping it down with bungee cords.
The best way I know how to celebrate is by being the person you raised. I think I’ll keep her close.