IT’S BEEN A LONG WHILE, friends, since I’ve visited you here, deep summer filled with such highs and lows it’s difficult to get my bearings. I’ve found it hard to write, impossible to imagine how I’d ever find the words. There has been so much sadness. And joy, overwhelming joy, and kindness and grace and gratitude, coming along in grand sweeps and sways.
A roller coaster, proverbial as that is.
There is no need for a detailed accounting. It is enough to say my dear Daddy, who spent his last years in a fiercely determined fight not to let demon Alzheimer’s get the better of him, finally succumbed. The last weeks were awful. Wretched. A NOBODY-SHOULD-EVER-HAVE-TO-GO-THROUGH-THIS kind of time. But also, an open state which gave us some of the funniest, most tender, most beautiful moments we ever spent.
And there were the sweet days following, remembering, with my brothers.
And the outpouring from Dad’s broad and beloved circle.
THERE HAVE BEEN a thousand other worthy-of-mention occurrences over the same period. I spent a few glorious days at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop–the highest of highs–where the focus on craft (and particularly that of the talented and generous Michael Parker) impacted my writing and clarified the tough requirements of the dreaded novel edit. (I regret I was called away before Nikky Finney‘s keynote. It would have been a great honor to meet her.) During this same time many, many dear friends faced mountains of sorrow and stress. There has been an unusual frenzy of sickness and loss and change. Still others are dealing right now with the wonderful/horrible transition of a child leaving home. I will never, ever discount the deep emotions that result from this college drive-away; it has been seven years for me and I swear, it still hurts.
And yet the fog lifts, time and again.
THIS, THEN, is what became of my summer.
The rises and falls, the scramble for footing.
The full surround of grace.
And still the loss. The deep, deep loss of my Dad.
I can hear Kent Rigg’s laugh clear as day, to this day. ?? Loved seeing y’all up in Wise.
Thanks, dear friend. And thank you for always being there 🙂
What a meaningful message to read as I leave in a little while to attend the service of a 55 year old friend and family to my granddaughter who died suddenly. Love your thoughtful words.
Oh, friend. I am so sorry. Love and hugs to you.
Lovely, as your heart.
I am quite confident what appears as ???? is actually hearts, and I send them back to you, dear friend!
Oh Cathy…reading this hits so very close to home as my 94 yo Dad deals with his own health issues. No matter our age, or theirs, it will always hurt…
Dads hold a special place in their little girls lives and vice versa. Sending you hugs, love, and prayers for peaceful memories to live on. xo Liz ?
Sending you so much love. XXOO
Cathy, more than anything I wish that I could have been there to hold your hand. My Daddy cried when I told him of Kent. I am holding on to every moment with him, as I know you did. There is just something about a Daddy/ Daughter love. I so look forward to seeing you, to hear the stories and share the memories of him. I love you, my friend.
This just breaks me down in the most beautiful way. Thank you, dear friend.
Sending you love.
Thank you, Wendy. XXOO
Other than losing a spouse, losing a parent is one of the hardest things we must endure. That generatation is gone and with their loss is all the history they embody. How often I wish I could call my Mom or Dad to share whatever or to ask their advice.
We are the next generation now however that is to imagine. Memories keep me going. Most are wonderful and sweet and many were wise as I reflect upon them.
God’s love and grace will embrace you and keep you in the days to come. Know that others care and love you.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I always look to you as a role model–and they mean the world. XXOO