Thursday, December 07, 2006


I know a few people, my age or younger, aside from myself, who have lost a parent. It is not a club that any of us feels particularly proud to belong to. I used to say that I believed in God because I needed to be mad at someone for what happened. Now I believe in God to simply hold on to the hope that her soul is cared for after her body was not.

When my mother died, my world imploded. Nothing took place outside the confines of my family’s house. Nothing mattered. For weeks, I was smothered with love and support. Then I had to go back to the world. Things have never been the same since. Not until very recently do I think I regained my perspective.

I would not wish that feeling of hopelessness and loss on anyone. Which is why it is so crushing that it has happened to a friend. Even though it has happened to me, I still don’t know what to say to others in my same circumstances.

Except this.

Write it all down. When you get a moment to yourself, write everything down. If you can’t find the strength to write, then just make a list. Write down everything that made you love your father. Write down all the things you did together, the moments you shared, all the singular things about him that made him your Dad. Don’t stop until you can’t think of anything else to write, no matter how emotionally drained you might be. Then put it away in a drawer.

As you write, you will feel, albeit much too briefly, as though he is there next to you. And you will every time you take it out and read it.

It is as close as we can come. Someday, in the distant future, it will almost be enough.