The spotlight of grief crowds my pathway. I push it away. I ignore the cracking underneath my feet. The eggshells are only in my mind. No one else sees them. I am too tired to explain. This unnecessary thought, even though no one is asking. To grieve in silence masks the echo. I keep shouting, but the words land like whispers no one wants to hear.
March always arrives with its robust reminder of spring. In the desert, the heat is casting its gaze, the pavement hot from its presence. Flowers take residence, the potpourri of yellows, purples and reds ignite the otherwise sand and gravel landscape. The sunsets come with a fury, a blending of light and dark and I look up, as I often do, for a sign, an answer or a moment of peace. I wait. Nothing happens. Instead, my shoulders hunch, my back slouches and tears threaten.
I don’t cry. I tilt my head, convincing them to retreat. I remind myself, my father’s passing didn’t happen yesterday. This March will mark seven years since my family lost him on a Sunday, the day that signifies an end and the edge of beginnings. As much as I convince myself to forget the moment when I lost my father, I cannot. I remember the metal railings of his hospital bed, the Cinnamon glade candle in the corner of the room and the prescription bottles crowding the white dresser. When I walked into this room, I yelled when I knew and I immediately curled up next to my father, begging him to stay. “Please don’t go, Dad. Please, Please.”
I cannot forget the imagery of my life. It boomerangs toward me, hurling with uncontrollable ease in quiet, noise and happiness. I don’t tell anyone, though. What will come of confessing this particular sadness? I sit with it. I revisit the most difficult moments, a montage of sadness mounts its mutiny. I fight it — with the memories of happier times — sitting with my father at Burger King, eating a veggie whopper with onion rings, the countless evenings when he became a compass to my questions about politics and life and our family dinners, where we would eat breakfast, have huge disagreements and place countless cakes for so many birthday celebrations.
As one year dissolves into another, the grief becomes more pronounced. There are days I long to talk to my father, but I cannot pick up the phone or drive to our childhood home or do a single thing about it. The sadness of this realization has no place to go. But who wants to hear about how I miss my father, seven years after he has passed? Am I even allowed to say this out loud?
I am a pioneer navigating my grief. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good days. It isn’t fair to say because my father isn’t here anymore, I don’t feel joy or excitement or gratitude. I feel every one of those emotions. But it is not the high-glossy print variety of happiness, it is more of a matte version. When the sadness happens, it takes over. It pierces, sidelining the moment.
I keep quiet, though, I don’t say anything. I silently honor the melancholy.
Image: eggshell by Jonathan Cohen via Flickr.