Thursday, March 08, 2012



















I found this recently and felt like posting it. It is March, the month my father fell ill in 2006. Less than 4 weeks later, he was gone. This picture was taken about one hour after he had been buried. We had all gone to lunch and then come back to visit the grave. It's quite an amazing photo, taken by my older brother. To the far left is my daughter's former boyfriend (who was very much a part of the family though they split within a year of Dad's death). My brother's fiancé is sitting on the ground. L-R standing: my daughter-in-law, my oldest son, my daughter behind me, Me, my youngest niece (at the time), my husband, and my youngest son behind his father. Whew. Hard to look at this and not feel that day all over again.

6 comments:

LKD said...

What an amazing, amazing, amazing photograph.

I thought it was a still from a movie.

I'm blown away from it.

It reminds me a lot of the photos I was snapping with the camera in my brain on the day of my uncle's funeral. I volunteered to be a pall bearer because my older brother couldn't make it home for the funeral. It was one of those experiences that was defining for me. I finally understood the significance of that roll, of taking, sharing, carrying the weight of someone you loved and lost.

At the cemetery, during the graveside ceremony--not the right word, but you know what I mean--I looked all around, at the faces of my family, at the priest, and then took in the vast expanse of the cemetery which was verdant, and almost glowing green on that sunny summer day, and off in the distance, beneath a tree, I saw a woman, crouched in the shade beside a grave. It seemed like a deeply personal moment and it felt invasive to lay eyes on it. She was talking to whoever was buried there.

Oh, Maggie. We have both lost our fathers. Our dear, our beloved, our good, imperfect, very mortal, very flawed but wonderful fathers. How in the hell is it possible that life has gone one without them?

I miss him, still, so much.

Thank you for sharing this photo. It's haunting and intimate and broken and moving and stunning and....really, no words can touch how it makes me feel to look at it.

LKD said...

Um.

Blown away by it. Not from it. By it.

Ha.

Long day at work. Every day's a long, mind-boggling day at work.

Can you say mandatory overtime? (grimace)

Maggie said...

Laurel,

I knew you would be there with me when I posted this.

I look at this and see the all of us standing around this place on the earth where my father lies in his casket six feet beneath us.

I do remember the day though much is so cloudy.

I can remember the drive down 41 South to the cemetery. The funeral home did not say there would be no police escort, so we were all driving furiously to keep up with the hearse. I am amazed that no one got into an accident.

And the, there was the ceremony for my father at the Veteran's cemetery. I have some photos from that, but they are not digital.

It was a long time before I could look at them. My brother, who took this picture, took those as well.

I don't know how he did it.

I don't.

I was barely there.

As this photo indicates.

But, I feel my brother did indeed capture so much in his ability to detach.

And, as you said, there is this taking in the landscape. I was comforted and soothed by the soft, green, new April grass growing. I wanted to lie down.

I wanted to lie down and not get up.

I am so glad my children were there to keep me going.

No tears. Just horrible inability to move. To do.

I was in someone's dream. I could not get out. They were steadfast and active and accepting.

and there I am. In my floral dress and black sweater. Holding a rose.

I don't know why.

There are so many days that I think the life in me just left when he did, but it would so hurt him and worry him to think that.

There are days this sound comes from me that does not sound particularly human.

It is the sound of a wound which can never be healed. But, most days I realize

well, I don't know what I realize.
I just know I miss him.

Yes, beloved, imperfect, mortal, flawed. All of those things. But. He was my father. And he loved me.
Me. Imperfect, demanding, troubled and troublesome, me.

Maggie said...

I want say this, too. I have been unable to cry for a very long time. But I could tonight. And, I thank you for being part of that.

It helps. So very much. I needed that release.

Thank you, Laurel.

LKD said...

Well, I'm glad you could access your tears.

It's important to just let go and cry, really cry, for everything and nothing. One of those big ugly sobbing cries. I haven't had one in a while. I'm due.

I'm not much of a crier to begin with thanks to my parents and their stiff upper lip keep your problems to yourself mentality.

But gosh, when I do cry, it feels like something has broken loose inside, something that needed breaking.

Maggie. I'm glad you found that release.

Maggie said...

It helped much, Laurel. So very, very much.