Sunday, June 19, 2016

#SOL16: Father's Day

Rob and Devon.  2003.

In short, no pattern is an isolated entity. Each pattern can exist in the world, only to the extent that is supported by other patterns: the larger patterns in which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are embedded in it.
Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language, 1977


The summer is just about here. And Rob is not. A few days ago was Bloomsday and it was a day Rob and I would celebrate. To say my husband appreciated James Joyce would be an understatement. Earlier that day, Dev asked,  "You okay? You look sad."

And I did feel sad. And that sadness hung around a bit--a weight I never really wanted and then as my mind got busy elsewhere, the feeling of sadness dissipated.

Last year, Rob wanted a new shaver for Father's Day and I know that he received that, along with something less practical--a copy of Christopher Alexander's The Timeless Way of Building.  It is the less practical that I am grateful for a year later. The Timeless Way of Building explores a theory of how to bring conflicting ideas, scenes, patterns into balance. It is a book about tensions and ease.


from my art journal, 6.19.16
(newspaper, gesso, stabilo pencil and acrylic paint)
Across this first year, each change of season, each day that comes and goes marks Rob more gone. When I think of this I get a sick feeling as if somehow all of this has been a mistake, a very bad mistake.  How could Rob be dead? It is still unfathomable. It hurts in so many ways to create new memories, ones that have not been made with Rob.  He was so very vital. His absence is a hole, not fillable.

As the days unfold, each step is a measurement that distances me from this last difficult year and yet time is less linear and more curved.  A year ago we did not know Rob was ill and likely I barbecued that day and we ate and laughed and looked forward to summer's arrival and to planning the trip to Portugal we had intended to take last November that we never were able to do.

And now a new Father's Day has arrived and each holiday between today and a year from now will unfurl in ways I simply cannot not know.  My husband was an an amazing father to our son. Amazing. He loved Devon with a fierceness that words here simply cannot capture.

The hard thing about grief and often about life--is the intensity of feeling. Sometimes a holiday blindsides me, no matter how 'prepared' I think I am.

Flame to flesh. And then the healing that comes with movement.


I move to keep things whole. I love how Mark Strand wrote about moving, how he situates the relationship between movement and absence.  Some ways I move is by walking, some ways are by paint across paper.  I think about Alexander who wrote that "[d]rawings help people work out the intricate relationships between parts.  

That is what grief mostly resembles.  Grief is the working out of intricate relationships between parts.

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