Monday, June 13, 2011

Digging Deep

"What did it feel like to go back to work after Daddy died?" 

I sat on my front stoop on Saturday night, shielded from a light rain and working by streetlight as I tried to remember.

I've written twenty-one pages about losing my father; his illness, deterioration and death, diagnosis to funeral. There's still more to write, more details to include, memories coming back slowly. What I haven't explored is what happened afterward. How I grieved and tried to find my way back.

I sat outside for an hour conjuring those feelings. I wrote in broad strokes all the things that came to mind. Re-reading every sympathy card. Going to the cemetery on the first Father's Day after he died (which, like this coming Father's Day, also falls on my birthday). Sitting in a ladies room stall at work and crying over something that reminded me of him. Telling people who didn't know what had happened that he was gone. The first time I went to a wedding and realized I would never have the father-daughter dance I'd imagined. Five pages in longhand.

I finished, came upstairs and went to bed. I woke up early and went to my neighborhood coffee shop to type it all up, adding these new pages to the previous twenty-one. 

I haven't looked at those pages since I came home late Sunday morning. I know I have to go back and fill in some blanks. The editing, adding detail, taking things out, shifting paragraphs, unpacking the work and trying to make it all fit together is the part I enjoy -- well, not enjoy -- but it's the thing I'm learning and when I think I've hit it right, that's enjoyable.  What I did over these last two days--remembering and grieving all over again is what got me and I still haven't shaken it. I shouldn't be surprised. I'm glad I was able to start this next section. I know there is going to be some crying and writing along the way, but I do feel good about it, even if it means feeling bad for a couple of days.