August 26

OK, today was *for sure* a day when Brian was pulling the sanity wagon. I had to ride, usually sobbing and occasionally bitching about the bumps. He is a patient, patient man.

See, here’s the thing. Today, Monday, August 26, is Jack’s first day of preschool in this new place. I cried because he might not make friends. I cried because his teachers and therapists may not be able to help him. I cried because he’s just a little boy, and I want him to feel safe, and I’ll miss him. (Who said that? Certainly not the same woman he hit in the face yesterday.) I cried because I don’t like our new neighborhood. I cried because Brian went for a hike in the foothills, and I haven’t had a chance to yet. And I cried because, oh yeah, today is three years since my dad died.

A good friend sent me a YouTube link to a song called “Elephant.” It’s a beautiful but brutal song about a woman dying of cancer, and it ripped me up. I know she meant it as a kind gesture, but I don’t think she was aware of this anniversary, and it hung over my whole day, haunting me. Then during a lull in the tears, I went out to the garage to try setting up my art studio out there, and I just *happened* to open the box containing a journal I gave my dad soon after my mom died. On the first page, he had written, “This is my 62nd birthday, and the first without my beloved Janis.” I dropped the book and sank into my chair as another wave of crying swept over me.

Someone wanted to make sure that I didn’t ride by this date without noticing it. Well, fuck you, Someone. I was perfectly happy pretending everything was just peachy. (Believe it or not, I even went to a peach festival this weekend.) I know it’s time. It’s been a long time coming, this ocean of grieving. It comes more easily now that I’m off Prozac, which I both love and hate. It means it’s moving. It means I’m finally releasing it, instead of holding it all together. But dammit, if it doesn’t suck all to hell. I think it’s also up because of the move, because I’m stepping again out into the world and the unknown, and it scares me to realize that my parents, my backup, are gone. And also, there’s the fact that my dad lived here in Colorado, when he was a teenager. It’s almost like the mountains have held him, waiting for me to come here and gather him up.

From our front window, we can see the peak of Horsetooth Mountain, and right in front of it, a lower hill with a giant white A painted on it. The A sits above Hughes Stadium, where the Colorado State football games are played. Now, CSU’s team is known as the Rams. But back in the day, they were the Aggies. If you never knew my dad, this may not mean anything to you. But he was a Texas Aggie, and a damn proud one. Every time I see that A on the hill, I think of him.

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