I took him to the Museum of Flight, and to the Chittenden locks, and to the Shintō Tsubaki Grand Shrine, where Koichi Barrisch was kind, generous and patient, treating my dad as a fellow servant of G/god(s). I was living in a tiny one-bedroom, so I gave him the bed and slept on an air mattress in the living room. He was fantastic, my dad.
This is not sadness that has me writing about him.
I have been thinking about Ursula Le Guin's death, and about Mort Walker, who died this weekend, who was a high-school schoolmate of my mentor. And Jim, who is 94, who has buried more family than I have ever possessed. Other deaths, too, recent and not so. And my brother -- who is still alive, and younger than me, granted; but he has surgery coming up in a bit and you never know, right? Right.
We will lose them all, and then, eventually, the world will lose us. This is the way things are. If we don't find a way to make our peace with this, the world becomes emptier with each loss, a little more bitter, a little colder. I at least don't want to spend the rest of my life progressively gutted by loss until I am a creature of dry bone and wind and loneliness.
Is there a way not to? I think opening one's hands is my answer: letting go of the living person I have lost, if and when I can. And also pouring out seeds from my unfisted hands: sowing, sowing, sowing. Being a writer. Being a mad visionary. Whatever I am: being that, authentically. Writing when I can, what I can. Teaching when I can, what I can. Smiling at people, and if they want to smile back, they can. Not saving the good stuff for later.
There's more to it than that, but this is a start.