Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sweet Home

I ARRIVED HOME from North Carolina Tuesday night. Well, actually, it was the afternoon, but because I knew my husband wouldn't be home till 9 o'clock, I stayed in Portland, Maine, for half a day before driving an hour north to Winthrop because I didn't want to walk into an empty house.

Strange what grief can do.

My short-term memory has taken a vacation. I can't remember what I said or heard yesterday. I guess my mind knows it's best to live in the moment, especially right now.

My bed felt great, but I've got to get used to being there again. Hubby didn't know what to do with all my tossing and turning. It's as though everything is brand new. And I mean everything.

On the flight from Milwaukee to Augusta, Maine, the airline had lost my carry-on luggage. Don't ask. I wouldn't tell anyway. It's too surreal.

But they found it while I was in Winston-Salem for the Davis Cup. I was a bit concerned because the luggage contained so many sentimental things: Daddy's partial, which he wore on the lower left side of his mouth; his antique gold razor and shaving brush; his case and bifocals, which improved his glaucoma-pressured eyesight just enough so he could read blurry text in the newspaper, the Bible, or see his son's face plastered on the backcover duskjacket of his son's book tucked, backside up, under the socks in his sock drawer; his deodorant and cologne; his watch and favorite ring; his bleached-white and ironed handkerchiefs; an award of appreciation for his years as an elder at the church; his Pabst Brewing Company Quarter Century Club program for a banquet honoring employees of 25 years or more; the pillowcase he slept upon when I arrived in Milwaukee for the first time; and the pillowcases' beautiful white lace hem which had torn away from it when removed from the pillow.

The luggage had been found in Boston. US Airways flew it to Augusta the morning after it was located. I guess Daddy finally got a ride in a plane for the first time in more than 60 years after all.

All of those sentimental things have come to rest in my home and make up a shrine to Daddy right under "The Holy Ghost" -- a glorious work of art that depicts a crucified dreadlocked Black woman, created by an old Boston friend -- on the altar that sits beneath the painting.

I feel like a ghost. No. Yes. But I also feel like I'm walking on the moon.

Strange what grief can do.

Just a few hours ago, my sister Gina reminded me that I am now the man of the family. "The patriarch," she said. Oh. If only I could walk in the footsteps of Daddy, the great man of his loving family that aches and aches and aches for his physical presence right here, right now.


wbg said...

Lieve Craig.

Just take your time, be patient, dont rush your feelings. You know what I mean? Just do your daily things and try to enjoy it.
Looking forward to see you next week!!!


Craig Hickman said...

Thank you, zus.

See you soon!