to stand up and say

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April 2, 2011

Washington Irving said —

“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”

There is a lot of pressure to stand up here and to speak about my father in a way that is fitting and right.

And then to get through this while standing upright, and without tears.
— But then there has already been time for tears, plenty, this week . . .this month.

I don’t know how to stand up here and even begin to put all of papa into a short page of writing.

The number one thing they tell writers is that they must write what they know, and what I know is that this week my Papa passed away

this week my papa passed away.
The world seems to be able to move on, and me, I get mad at cashiers who tell me to have a nice day.

This week my papa passed away,
and winter seems to want to hang on as a way to pay its own respects.

This week my papa passed – and I’m not sure how anyone can take a picture again without me comparing it to the work my father would have done.  Who will film Corey’s teams? Who will be his biggest fan?

This week my papa passed away, and I try to put the details back in the stories he has told a million times.  How many pumpkins were they throwing at those cars, how many nails did the uncles put in that  tree?  Was it Becky or Marilyn that he used to compete with to see who would get the most ribbons at 4H – Who lived at Hammon street, which bike was he riding when he got in that accident – Who was there the night he toasted my birth with tequila?

This week my papa passed away, and his house seems lonely without him. When I was four at our dining room table I watched him draw the lines that would one day be our house – Those lines that became a home.

This week my papa passed away, and I wonder who can possibly take his place as number one son, as coordinator of gatherings, of shelterer of parents, of corresponder to cousins.

This week my papa passed away, and I can’t imagine this world where Keegan and Kai don’t have their grandfather to pass on his love of sledding runs, and sand castles, and damning up rivers

This week my papa passed, and I wonder who will give me a hard time about my past, about my obnoxious youth, who will love all my cooking, who will rehash every old UConn game with me.

This week my papa passed away, and I see him in everything. And I hear him everywhere – And I realize,

that I will begin to forgive those cashiers.

And spring will begin to warm up the earth, and our heats.

I realize that maybe no photograph will compare to my father’s but we will all be there to cheer Corey on.

And I know that you all will fill in the gaps of the stories, how many nails, how many pumpkins, which bike, and who won what ribbon.  Even though no one maybe able to tell me who really lived at Hamon Street.

And I know his house will be begin to be less lonely without him, that Lynn, and Corey and Grandpa will fill up the spaces

and I know,  that every uncle in this room, be he related by blood, or related by years, will step up to be surrogate grampas, and will tell my sons the stories of their grandfather – and will help them damn rivers and build sand castles —

and me, I’ll be number one daughter now,
but this week, my papa passed away and left awful big shoes to fill,

This week my papa passed away, and I realized that we all need to take care of each other.  To make the phone calls, to gather the troops, to rally on without him here.
He was so loved, with a laugh so big and a story so long,

and

This week, my papa passed away, but I realized, that he will live on in stories and photographs, and shots of tequila long after this week has faded away.

“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”

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4 responses »

  1. That is wonderful….Your talent as a writer truly came through on behalf of our Dad and my cousin. Thank you for the tribute.

  2. Tara, this is truly a wonderful tribute to your papa.
    Your words paint pictures of your relationship. Lucky you.

  3. Pingback: Out of my system. | Happy Valley Mama

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