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.