Going with the flow


There are things related to my dad that I think I'll never stop doing. Taking photos of sunrises over the Mississippi River on my morning commute and wishing I could share them with him is one of them.

But I'm starting to realize that mourning is probably not.

You'd think this realization would come as a relief, but it actually threw me into a mild panic when I figured it out the other day. A friend of mine, after reading my blog post about the photo of Mom and Dad in the museum in Oxford, texted me, "I don't know how clear it is from where you are, but I can tell that you are coming to terms with this. Your voice in the writing is healing."

My immediate reaction was to deny it categorically. "I am NOT coming to terms with this. I am NOT healing. This is NOT okay." But as soon as I realized that was how I was feeling, I wondered why. I mean really, what's wrong with healing? Who actually WANTS to be sad and miserable for the rest of their lives?

And I finally realized what the problem was: It was time. Specifically, the relentless marching of the aforementioned. The old saying goes, "Time heals all wounds." But time, like the surly current lurking below that beautiful sunrise, also carries me farther away from him. No matter how I flail and scream, it puts more and more distance between me and the last time I hugged him, held his hand, heard his voice.

But I can't control that current any more than I can stop time. Which means that, eventually, my wounds will have to heal. But in order for it to heal me, I have to allow time's current to carry me farther and farther down the river of my life. And although I promised Dad I would look forward and keep going, I can't help but glance over my shoulder, hoping for a glimpse of him standing on the bridge above, shrinking to a pinpoint but never fully disappearing from view.

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