Monday, February 15, 2010
in the presence of grief
Late in my teen years there were friends of my parents whose son killed himself with a gun in a shed behind their house. Afterward, I remember Dad having Richard out to the house to help him fix the garage roof. It was late autumn and they both wore flannel shirts on an afternoon when there was a light breeze and the sun was shining and shade fell across the place where they worked. The garage had five bays and was detached and sat back from the house with a circle drive between the house and the garages. Dad had Richard out under the pretense of fixing the roof, he understood that this gave Richard something to do. Gave him an outlet, a purpose, a place to be. My father, if nothing else, understood grief, having suffered many losses at a young age. He understood that in the deepest of grief, when your own soul feels thin, as if worn through, that sometimes, getting to a different place, and having something to do, small and simple, with someone who cares, can be a balm, a help, a soothing monotony.