A Starry Night in November

November 17, 1991.

What was it about the air that day? Sharp and bright, laced with the scent of burnt amber leaves. The sweet promise of decay and death infused my senses, yet a bitter taste lingered on my tongue. Something wondrous and beautiful tugged at the frayed edges of my mind. Those worn gossamer threads were unraveling, and it chilled me to the bone.

Although 3,000 miles away, I already knew you were gone from this world. The moon and stars whispered to me as I crossed the dark field alone. Your universe has shifted, Dear One. I paused and looked up at the sky.

So much magic within that pause!

Standing over your grave, this air continued to fill my lungs, forcing me to breathe in spite of my urge to jump into the cold ground with you.

Why was the day we buried you so lovely? Why was the sun still there? How dare it burst through the clouds, igniting the caked soil on our feet with its dappled brilliance as we stood huddled and abandoned at the edge?

It was a fitting departure for you, Dad.

November was your favorite month.  It meant football games blaring in the background, turkey roasting in the oven, icy mittens melting on the radiator.

Now every year when November comes, the old familiar ache of dread begins again. First, it was a twisted knot of fear boring a hole deep into my gut.  Then for years only tired sadness would creep, casting heavy shadows in my eyes.

Finally, it gave way to something bigger than I ever imagined:


For your luminance has roosted, nestled permanent and deep within my wounded heart. Keeping these bones of mine warm with the hope you’ll carry me through the many pauses yet to come.


72 thoughts on “A Starry Night in November

  1. Truly beautiful. I miss my Dad too and did a post on him this past week. Sometimes I feel he’s there watching over me. We have no grave to tend, though I have my memories on the wall with his marquetry, photographs and poetry, his love in my heart and his cardigan once more wraps its magic around me.

  2. This is gorgeous writing Darla! What beautiful prose and tribute. We always feel the hole in our heart when a loved one passes. Filling it with happy memories and the passing of time helps!

  3. Very good, beautifully written. So many of us can relate to this. But your final thought there, “peace” is such a milestone when mourning the loss of someone. Sometimes that can take years, decades even. It’s not really an acceptance that they’re gone, it’s just an acceptance that you are going to be okay without them.

    1. Steve, such wise words in your comment. You are right, it can take decades, maybe even a lifetime to accept. But when that moment comes, it’s like a breakthrough. You can start enjoying life and remembering that person with only positive thoughts.

    1. Having that hope, that promise of peace is the best we can ever hope for in this life, isn’t it? (I meant to ask you about a post you linked to on your other blog. It was fantastic, probably the most insightful thing I’ve read in awhile, can I link to it on this blog?)

    1. I’m so sorry you lost your dad too. My brother said to me last week, “Remember when we used to go downstairs and just sit with Dad and talk about life? I miss that.” It’s those simple things I still miss even though he’s been gone longer than I had him in my life.

  4. We’ve spoken so many times, you and I, about these empty spaces. I love that you can now fill them with peace and stars — both as boundless as your love. Hugs.

  5. Reading this made my heart ache and soar at the same time, Darla. Happy Anniversary to your Dad on this, his 22nd year of existence on the Other Plane. I hope today has been more peaceful than upsetting, more happy than sad, and more warm than cold.

  6. Darla, I got goosebumps reading this. While I’ve made peace with my dad’s death (I was only 4 when he died), I regret not knowing he died, how he died, or being there to honor his death. I had to grieve ten years late, which is a lot tougher because no one is there to go through it with you.

  7. Such a beautiful description of the journey through grief to the other side. I had a rough one, I lost a son. Life isn;t supposed to do that. It was 1988 and only in the past few years can I remember him with a huge smile which followed his jokes and antics. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it is poignant and beautiful when we can smile in remembrance again.

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