Sitting on the porch with a coffee
Waiting for the day to begin.
My father slipping away from us one drop a day.
A name forgotten, a stumble, a tear, a disease.
All things become clearer even as they cloud with grief.
And I pull from a deep river inside where peace resides.
Where joy and humor and, above all, gratitude reside.
A river where others are welcome and some drink deeply of the cool water when they find it.
A thirst we all have.
A river many of us can’t find.
I did not create the river, but uncovered it.
Removing layers of stories and injuries and nonsense I had placed on it for decades.
But the river was pure as ever once I removed the debris.
Unconcerned with my silliness, my recklessness that once hid its source.
And now I sit with my father, my hero, my lighthouse,
Helping him remember, helping him walk, watching him accept with courage and grace
this fast-moving death that approaches.
He cries often now, my stoic, sensible, Scottish father.
But not of grief or regret. Only of love and gratitude.
He is beautiful to see.
And the things I believe to be true are now seared into me as true.
Love. Forgive. Have grace. And love some more.
So my river is deeper now. Daily.
And sadder. And more joyful.
It does not stop flowing when someone dies.
It does not stop flowing when a heart is broken or a baby is born.
It gently flows always in everyone, the same connected river.
His is connected to mine. To everyone's. And will be when he dies. And always.
So I drink from it to sustain me and remind me and comfort me, even as I allow my heart to break.
The Secret is Love
There was a baby and a dog.
If you ever have a question,
Or you get lost,
Just look at them. Gaze at them.
Their faces give away all the answers.
Give away the secret to love.
And the secret is...love.
Go out into the world
There are wild adventures you can not even imagine
From jungles to fields to city streets flooded with neon
to food and noises and mountains to feast on
And maybe, probably, some things you might wish
You hadn't seen, or learned
Then come home
I will be here
And the sheets drying in the wind on the line
And the cat asleep in the chair
And warm raspberries I plucked that day on my walk, in a bowl in the kitchen
And maybe even bread from the oven
if it’s Wednesday
Come home and rest
And stay a while.
Before I Broke You
All those pictures of you at three and four, and seven
where your face could barely contain your smile
are now tiny razors
swift little cuts when I see you, before
before the falling apart
of me and dad
of your safety
before that awful conversation
before the two homes
before small backpacks full of weekend clothes
before heartbreak and anger
before the tears and conversations late into the night
before you slowly patched yourself back together
before I helped you
before you became the gorgeous, resilient person you are now
before I broke you
which in truth was me saving you, I hope,
from the inheritance of my mistakes
the estate of my willingness to suffer
I robbed you happily of those legacies
and I know in their place I offer you something much more
beautiful. But still...
with them, I took your innocence
I took the smile in those early pictures
that I have never seen again.
Drops of Beauty
Once I realized that at the bottom of a cup of sadness
were drops of beauty,
I was no longer scared
and sadness became my friend alongside joy.