I write about my grief publicly for two reasons. First, I am nourished by articulating my loss. Each word is a kind of testament to my survival. The words ground me in the present while also giving me access to the past. It is the language itself that soothes me, but knowing there is an audience provides an added sense of connection and validation that also helps me. I write the words, someone reads them, and an exchange takes place. I give you the most tender and vulnerable parts of myself and you read, you give your time, and absorb my words into your consciousness. Now some part of me lives in you. Maybe you will think of me. Maybe you will remember me. Isn't that what so many of us want?
Second, I write my grief as a kind of warning to others. Implicit in much of what I post about my life is the desire for you to do what I did not. I want you to cherish the people in your life. I want you to know how easily they can be lost. I want you to ask them questions, learn about them, remember and record as much as you can, leave nothing unsaid because there is so much about my father that I will never know. And, when I look back, I am haunted by the feeling that I took him for granted, that I did not show my love enough. When I share the personal details of my pain, I am calling out to you, trying to awaken you to what you have but might not see, just as I didn't see it. What I seek in writing is emotion. I want it to make me feel alive and feeling alive means realizing that what you love will die and so will you. But we are here right now, for this moment, and we must find ways to connect and love and share. That's all we can do. So I choose to share these words.