Wednesday, January 30, 2008

where life returns to normal and grieving resurfaces

I am back to the simple swing of routine: alarm clocks, the click of the lock to my classroom, the lights pulling on, the smell of gym socks. Back to sooty snow and slick sidewalks, icy driveways and chewed up work shoes (that dog, I tell you--fourth pair this morning).

There are steps to grief, I think. Private ones, ones that aren't listed in health class, or a psychology textbook. My grandfather passed away nearly two months ago, which is both the progression of life and a devouring sorrow in our family. And there are things to remind you, little bits that come in the aftermath, things I hadn't expected: the stacks of books, the old sport coats hanging in the closet, and the inheritance check. It's strange, those two words together: inheritance + check. They're words left out in the cold, tin cans clanging against each other. And I can't help but think--why can't I just trade it in? I mean, I don't know what a life is worth, and I know that eighty some years is a good, long life, and he had that, a good, good life. There are all those words: justify, sorrow, loss, resent, return, etc. What remains, what is left behind. Stupid, ridiculous things, like money, the aftershocks, crying alone by the mailbox.

And it all defines us: what we have survived, what we celebrate, what makes us at peace. When I think of loss, of Yvonne, of my grandfather, I also think of this: how can we live our lives in honor of them. How can we justify. How can we make peace. For me, when I started teaching, I would think of Yvonne: then I'd pass muster, I would cry in the closet and move on. Because I had to be a good teacher--for her. My grandfather was a professor of education. It only makes sense that the same is true.

I will live a good life. I will try. I will be a poet, because poets observe humanity, make life beautiful. I want life to be beautiful. Sorrow is beautiful too. I wish there were some bank, where you could trade inheritance for that person, to keep them a little longer, but I know, instead, I will simply be passionate, be the girl who sees the world, be a girl who loves those boxes we put ourselves into: teacher, poet, observer of the world.

Also: Wicked Alice opens its reading from February 1 - April 30.

1 comment:

michelle said...

i never new your grandfather. and yet as i read this post (and all your posts) i imagine him reading them. he must have/must be so proud of you.

you amaze me.