Lately, almost every object I see or touch triggers a memory. This week, at my apartment, I noticed a dirty soup bowl in the sink, put there by one of my roommates. It's the kind that is short and squat and has a handle, so it's more like a cup than a bowl. I immediately thought of my grandmother's house and her soup bowls, which looked very similar to the one in front of me in the sink. I could see her kitchen again--the ironing board, the fridge covered in recipe clippings, the hutch and pine safe, the large table where we had so many Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. All of this was resurrected because of one little soup bowl in a sink.
My grandmother is dead. I will never walk inside her house again. Everything is lost.
Tonight, I listened to "Blue Bayou" on repeat. It was the Linda Ronstadt version. I can still remember when my father gave me her Greatest Hits album. He often passed on CDs to me. I discovered not only Ronstadt through him, but Simon and Garfunkel, Heart, James Taylor, and Fleetwood Mac. I know he was a fan of Ronstadt and loved her voice. I wonder if he ever listened to "Blue Bayou" on repeat.
I have to remind myself that he really is dead. That it's final. How is it that seven years have passed without us talking or seeing one another? How have I survived all this time? I'm not strong or brave or tough. I am a girl who cannot stop grieving for all that she has lost. My mind is always teeming, remembering, conjuring the dead. I fear both the end and the endlessness of this grief. How can I continue to bear it, but how can I live without it?
Every object, every song, every thing, has an invisible root leading deep into the past. Let the memories come. I am terrified by them and yet desperately long for them because they offer me fleeting contact with the beauty, the safety, the reality of the world before death came. I give myself to that other world, the one with my father. I wait for the sound of his voice in my mind, a glimpse of his face, the temporary return of a life that never should have been destroyed in the first place.