Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

The smoke of memories had clouded my view.

Focus eluded me.

(I think it still does.)

I finally slowed down enough to let it come.  I welcomed it, knowing it would do me temporary harm.

The wave of sadness that hit me this morning, knocked me off my usual perch of control.

I couldn’t breathe.

I’m glad I had no one around to speak with because words were not going to come without a flood of tears and anger and melancholy.

And so I dispensed it all under the rain shower of a bathroom I had one day nicknamed Paris (because a simple repair had turned into a huge remodeling job).

I was the remodeling job now.  I was bringing myself back together as I finally accepted the broken pieces of juan I had denied all weekend.  As I finally accepted defeat in the most private of ways, via prayer and recollection and reminiscences of an unforgettable human being, I started to wash away the sadness.

Suddenly, I remembered my cousin Roger telling me on a January day in 1975, sitting in a small room near the staircase to the top floor of my Aunt Cuca’s house, ‘If this was my father, I’d be crying really hard…’ And I cried really hard because a little over forty-one years later, after my turn, Roger and his brother, Rene, had gotten the inevitable tap on the shoulder that comes to all of us at some point in our lives.

He and his brother were sitting in that classroom where the loss of a parent defies anything ever imagined or prepared for; where the rules of life play their hand and we all end up with a losing deal; where grief walks in and we recognize that it is going to be a lengthy visitor.

 

The loss of a parent for them, had become the apparent loss I had held at arms length since Friday night when my uncle passed away unexpectedly.

I cried for all that and more this morning.

I started to breathe again.

By the time the rain shower stopped and I left Paris, the cloud of smoke was gone and all that remained were thoughts of what the next few days would bring…

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