Friday, September 17, 2010

Here Where You Were, There's Just a Shadow of Wings from a Disappearing Bird*

Hello? Anybody out there?

I didn't mean to disappear for a month.

I just...didn't have much to say.

And typing, "I'm sad" a gazillion times doesn't seem very entertaining.

I've started a few posts. The one entitled, "I'm gasping for the air to fill my lungs with everything I've lost" was particularly morose. I'll spare you. (Although the song is good - Snow Patrol, so good for the emo in all of us.)

Yesterday my grief counselor told me I should write...that it would be helpful to write things down in a journal, that it would be helpful to write a letter to J~.

I'm not sure what I want to say. "Dear J~. I miss you. I'm a mess. Love, Me."

Two days ago I walked into his office to find that someone had left a message on his voicemail.

I dialed into our voicemail system to figure out who had called him. Unexpectedly, J~'s voice filled my ear.

"This is J~, I can't take your call right now, please leave a short message and your phone number and I'll call you back."

He sounded so...alive.

Of course he sounded alive, he was alive when he recorded it.

Dead men don't return phone calls.

For a second it struck me as absurd. How is it even possible that he recorded that message, that the message exists now when he does not? I think I had a moment of existential crisis.


On the window ledge outside J~'s office are the bones and feet of some small creature, a mouse or a vole, probably. Proof positive that J~'s bird has been there recently.

J~ used to say that he would be working in his office and suddenly have an overwhelming sensation that he was being watched. He would look up at the window and a falcon - a creature he came to refer to as "my bird" - would be there, staring in.

He was uncommonly fond of his bird, despite the gory messes it left on the window ledge.

I haven't seen the falcon since J~'s death. I only see the remains it leaves behind.

I like to think that the falcon misses him, that it returns to the window, ever hopeful to find he has returned. There is no way to explain cancer to a bird.

I find myself trying to move forward. Baby steps. I vacillate between anger and tears, anger and tears, anger and tears. But there are lots of other moments - hours and minutes that are not filled with anger or tears.

Maybe it's those times that aren't filled with grief that make the times when the grief arrives and smacks me in the side of the head seem that much more painful.

* David Broza, Here Where You Were

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