The Birthday

I heard a song and these lyrics made me cry. Today would have been my father’s 72nd birthday.

In the almost nine months since he’s been gone, I have heard all sorts of advice:

“He’s in a better place,” with a hefty dose of “It’s God’s Will.”

Yes, I agree. Cancer is an evil disease that creates a very special breed of suffering.

But even as I struggle with my faith, this is one unshakeable truth.

Watching him die was its own torture, and the slow, inexorable march of destruction the cancer wrought on his body and mind haunts me. I think it always will. And certainly railing against God, particularly for something as merciful as finally ending his suffering, will avail me nothing.

“It gets easier.”

Perhaps. It hasn’t yet. Some say I should give it more time. Others, that I should have been feeling better by some specific date or time. Yeah, none of that happened. I just moved my tears to the shower, or the car, when I’m alone and my mind is insufficiently occupied. Honestly, I think people just say this because the alternative is unpalatable.

“It never gets easier.”

I believe this one is true.

Perhaps because I was blessed to not have truly watched suffering, or because before the stakes weren’t so high, it didn’t bother me as much in my teens and twenties when I lost people. Of course, none of them were as close to me as my own father.

But now, faced with the realities of motherhood and mortality, the responsibilities of providing for my children and the worry of aging parents, and cursed with a greater knowledge of the dangers and evils of the world, I know that I will continue to receive this news. With it comes the grief—my own and that of other loved ones. And knowing how much it hurts now, how much others will hurt, how much they will continue to hurt, it makes my heart hurt.

I’m not convinced the pain ever grows easier to bear.

All I know is that I’ll never get to hear my dad’s voice (or advice) again, feel his hand in mine, or share the joy of our lives together.

There is nothing I can do about it.

I can’t fix it.

I can’t take away my pain.

I can only keep myself so busy, my mind so occupied, that I don’t allow my sorrow to consume me.

Because I still feel lost.

Baby Songs

“Jiggle, jiggle
Wriggle, wriggle
Wiggle, wiggle
Tickle, tickle,
Bounce, bounce, bounce”

Baby T loves to jiggle and bounce, so I’ve been making up silly songs to quiet her. The song of the day, provided in its entirety above, seems to make her really happy. T doesn’t need complex lyrics or fancy toys so long as one of us keeps talking to her or cuddling with her. When I consider how much effort goes into each scene I write, choosing the right words, setting the right tone, moving action forward, and compare it to the smiles and alertness I got from T from an improvised silly singsong, I’m amazed by the simple joys of motherhood.

This blog has been a longtime brainchild of mine, one that I’ve been thinking about for many months as I’ve continued progress on my manuscript. Del’s story, set in a dangerous, magical world aches to be told, but I hope to share with you my rather less epic, but no less adventurous tale – the life of a storyteller, new mother, baker, engineer, and dreamer of many dreams. I hope you will join me on this journey.