loss. grief. love. in august.

Even when you know it’s coming … even when you know it’s imminent … even if you know there’s little to no time left …

… the death of one you love, you are never never prepared.

Today my heart is heavy. It is a palpable heaviness permeating my heart. Beneath the heaviness is softness, tender tissue that like a sponge is saturated with all the tears I haven’t cried. A sea of tears I cannot cry.

I feel on one hand locked up and locked down … and I know it has everything to do with my crappy abusive living situation and my lack of a job (the once-a-week radio station gig excepted).

I have to be so strong … so determined … so steely in the face of tremendous adversity at the house and in the search for both new housing and work that honest to god were I not so damn over practiced at surviving … if I didn’t have to keep it together … I’d lay myself down in a remote patch of weeds in these mountains and sob.

Sob sob and sob … a wrenching sob … a sob from my deepest core … that inner space where spirit and body merge. I’d sob until I could sob no more. Until my tears ran dry and my body ached.

And then … I’d breathe.

That is the sobbing … so profound, so intimate, so real … that happened when I lost my dad. It gushed out of every pore. I lay on the kitchen floor in the rented house in Colorado. Fortunately the roommate was absent. And my sister in another state and I connected by phone. And I lost it. Really really truly lost it. Inconsolable, I was. Unreachable.

My sister gave me gift tremendous, a gift that few can give. A beautiful and loving gift on the phone and overcoming the miles separating. She was present. Silent. Listening.

Those moments that follow when you first lose a significant other … they don’t register. Not really. Not consciously.

Yet they change you. Forever and for the rest of your life.

Those tears .. not the memories of them but the grief … it’s still real. It’s still intimate. The grief and the shock, though I knew he was close, they can’t be “planned for” or anticipated.

You don’t know and you cannot know you will feel when that time actually comes. That moment of irretrievable loss. That moment when life has abandoned the body.

This is not the place to talk about my father, to describe him or our relationship. Simplest is to say it was love-hate. Conflicts. Controls (his). Free spirit (mine). He was not always a good man and often simply not a good father.

Yet I loved and love him. I adored him. Despite my having a mother (and I DEFINITELY don’t talk about her!), my father was the only love I knew. He was in that child-parent tie my first love.

I miss him. In weird unspoken-yet-understood ways. I don’t miss him, in liberating ways. For years and years, I knew that when my father passed, it’d be the hardest loss of my lifetime.

It was.

Dad,

I know maybe you’re not checking in on me or others still here on planet earth too much. I know you have work to do, growth and understanding to pursue and lightedness to attain through endeavors known only to those on the other side and God/Spirit/Light

That does not mean I love you any less. It does not mean that I don’t think about you. I do, so very very often.

In my Subaru, while I’m driving. And you know how I love my Subaru and driving and travel and motion, how much I love and need those.

I think of you when my back’s against the wall. “What would my dad say?” Some of what you’d say I’d have to disregard because you were so damn controlling. But I saw and knew your wisdom too. You were a man of few words but you made ’em count.

I still, two years later to the day, still haven’t accepted that you’re gone. That your body is no longer and that I won’t see you again. In time, perhaps I’ll come to accept that. I can’t now. I’m not ready. Grieving and coping with loss are a process. They cannot be rushed or forced or “pretended through.” Not for me.

Dad, I love you. I miss seeing you standing by the refrigerator in the morning back when I was staying with you and Linda. “Hi, dad,” I’d say. And I meant it.

“Hi, Al,” you’d say. And you meant it. It was father-to-daughter daughter-to-father. So short and simple yet so poignant.

Dad, hi from me on planet earth to you there.

Aug. 15, 2014
the second anniversary

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First Rule of Radio: Zip the *$#&@_$?!

Everyone remembers his or her first time behind a radio microphone, I reckon.

And everyone remembers the first time an expletive makes it onto the airwaves.

But I leap ahead.

My first time on the air almost a week ago wasn’t really my first. Just my first in some 35 years, when I interned as part of my journalism education at the J-School in Columbia, MO*.

*nation’s best!

Even back then, though a deer in the (radio) woods, I wasn’t that proverbial creature frozen in the headlights.

Apart from the initial uneasiness of “Oh my god, the town / city / county / state / world {fill in the blank} can hear me! What if I flub it?! Stutter?! Stumble? Sound stupid?!” I didn’t feel freaked out or out of place behind the mike.*

*I’m rollin’ with “mike” despite AP’s revision to “mic.”

No doubt it’s partly attributable to my ease speaking in front of groups — long as I have some grasp or command of my subject. Otherwise, dead brain air or sounding stupid, not my thang. I just don’t share that widespread fear of speaking in public — though I’m certain my mother, among others, wished I did!

That radio gig was decades ago in college and this is now, my new position as board operator at the radio station. On Saturday nights for now and it’ll grow as I grow into it. It rocks that I get to come on air at the top of every hour and announce the legally-required station ID!

Be they 7 or 8 or 10 or 20, those live seconds ain’t as easy as they sound! It’s all about developing timing … pacing … a rhythm gained only by doing. Let me repeat: Only by doing.

Because until you’ve watched a radio digital clock tick off the time down to the 10th of a second, you’ve no idea how quickly or slowly you speak.

And when your job is to ensure that complete sentences — be they yours or another’s — get on air before the station breaks or the news flares live, you …

… well, you just might get frazzled or freaked out enough to let fly a “shit!” … and discover you’re still live.

That’s what happened on my first shift at the mike. I was in the midst of airing the station ID. Then boom! Suddenly the national news feed fired at the top of the hour.

And somewhere’s in that split second between, I let out a “shit!” Fortunately it was subdued rather than shouted. And that may well be a first for me. Kidding! {?) Indication from the fellow / trainer at my side is that it didn’t make it on air. Still it was close. Too damn close for comfort.

Rule No. 1 of Radio, I told him: Learn to watch my mouth.

All the more imperative since I’ve got a bit of a trucker’s.

If I can embody that rule, all the rest in radio’s a piece o’ cake. A *$*(%_^ yummy and glorious piece o’ cake!