You went somewhere I could not find you. That last year, on the phone, I would say your name as many times as I could. Hi dad. Thank you dad. I love you dad. Bye dad. Every time I said it another tie to who you had been to me, who you had always been, the name I called you the same as all the years I had been yours, your daughter.

As I got older, I saw you less for what role you played for me, and more the man you were, the one you wanted to be—honest, charming, solid and sure. Your height kept me small, protected—the memory of the night when I watched ‘Carrie’ on tv in the cold side room of our old farm house. Too young and so scared I yelled from my bed, dad, dad, dad! Down the hall you walked, and slept in the other twin bed. How did you know to do that without making me feel weak, childish?

Your name held me to you, all those years, and especially the last few months, knowing you were leaving, the losing of you honest, solid, sure. I don’t know how to do this I said to my sisters. You don’t have to know, not yet, they said.

And then I knew.

I say your name still, into that place where I cannot find you. I miss you dad. I remember you dad. I won’t ever forget you.



I hold medicine in my hand, but I don’t want to take it. Read about better living, habits, and ways but don’t do it. I buy products and don’t use them, the promise of them working more valuable than trying it to see if they do. The next step remains hopeful by not taking it, my mind powerful in its endless delayed gratification.

In our orchard we laid to rest our loved and lost pets, and last night, bringing compost to the garden, I didn’t walk around that place. For the first time, I walked over the leaves and snow toward the garden where these scraps I collected from daily living will turn in their bin and make new soil, rich and airy and filled with the seeds of new summer living. This place I have walked around, paused by, looked away from, has become the ground now, part of the home I live. Not all things in life are living, some of the most beautiful things are part of the soil of what has been lost. Already lived, still in your life things; the time comes where walking around them stops, the detours drop away as they become part of the gravity that holds you on the path to endless new life.

I dreamed last night I was boarding a plane, my bag packed, haphazardly, unsure if I had everything I backed away from the line to enter and ran back the way I had come, emptying my bag of all things, seeing what I was taking with me. I noticed I had no make up, no need to blur or blend who I was where I was going, yet I had many red lipsticks. I took one, left the rest in a wide hallway, and ran forward to get on this small plane going somewhere.

I don’t need to be many selves where I am going, I just need to honor all of them. To not walk around who I have been, mourning the loss of those many hers that have brought me here. They are part of the new life being seeded right now, always right now.

There is no cure because there is no feeling better, there is simply feeling. Not living doesn’t keep the hope alive that it will get better, it keeps me mourning the things that have already lived. I am going somewhere, but it is not better, the compost of who I have been forever seeding this ever new summered life.


I had a dream last year, during the time we were losing our soft and loyal black lab, Max, the end of his days a braced denial of what was coming, all of us willing him to stay. I dreamed I was on a high cliff, scary and sheer heights ahead of me, I took a few steps forward and saw Max, sitting on a small ledge looking out over a beach. Walking toward him I could see the cliff wasn’t high at all, it was grassy and sloped, the surf below alive with people and braving birds. I woke up and knew he had already decided, he was going.

That’s where I am. I am already going, on a slope that I fear is a drop off, looking toward the waters edge, my waters edge. Last night, twisting in the unknown of it, I thought of that dream, and him. He beckons me there, this soft and loyal dog, to live forward toward the light and sun of what’s coming, not in the regrets and loss of what has brought me here.

I don’t know how to go forward Max, but I trust that dream of you, looking steadfast and sure, knowing what was coming was meant for you. Leaving when you wanted to, needed to, throwing love back over your shoulder like sand kicking up under your newly young paws.

I am between learning and having learned, a suspension between the two tiring shores of water worn stones and sharp new rocks catching my feet, the beach ahead of me alive with wildness.

I have believed that wild was frightening, the untethered truth of who I am a dark and cavernous unknown. I’m changing my mind about that; it seems the thrashing part of me is the most domesticated, the strictness a noose of perfection that tightens in the twisted trying out of it. The wildness in me is calm, easy, a quiet seat both back and in. I’ve mixed them up in my beliefs, the avoided wilderness the home of true silent bravery.

It’s time to make my way to the wild waters edge, knowing what is coming is meant for me, and knowing the resistance of it is part of the unrested exhaustion that keeps me afraid of these heights. Max, my softly beloved dog, I’ll meet you there.