I decided to go ahead and jump off the wire last Friday (the 14th) and run away. I didn’t go far and I wasn’t gone long, but I left none the less. I drove up the mountain to see Daddy for his birthday. I took him some daffodils from my yard. He loved flowers as long as you didn’t waste money paying a florist for them.
I was still undecided when I got up that morning whether or not to even go. I hadn’t left Randy alone since his shoulder surgery and was still doing pretty much everything for him, but the girls didn’t have any plans and promised to check on him regularly and fix him lunch and get his meds when needed and just hang out in general in case he needed anything. He’s not an invalid by any means, but three shoulder surgeries in 15 months has really taken its toll. It would have broken a lesser man, but he’s hanging in there. Hopefully this last one has done the job.
I grabbed the camera and my daffodils and headed out late morning for the 90 minute drive up into the blue ridge mountains to hang out with Daddy and just BREATH for the afternoon. I didn’t need to balance on the high wire today, I could make this trip in my sleep. And Daddy’s car, that I’d been driving since August when I followed the ambulance to the hospital that last time, could probably make that trip by itself. I’m so grateful my sisters let me keep that car. Daddy and I spent a LOT of time together in it. I can still smell his cigar smoke embedded in the grey upholstery. It’s getting fainter now after 7 months. It makes me sad to think of the day it won’t smell like his cigars any more.
It’s a beautiful, peaceful, (almost) healing drive. It’s a trip I’ve made since I was a little girl. Done to the point I had become blind to the beauty of it, taken it for granted. Today I breathed in the air like it was my last breath on earth. Breathed in the crisp, cool, piney air till I thought my lungs would burst.
I got out of the car and was immediately struck by the absolute quiet and wondered if coming alone was such a good idea. But it’s what I wanted, no, NEEDED, to do. Everything is definitely greener since I was here in December. Or at least starting to be. One of the disadvantages of the older “family” cemeteries is there is no perpetual care. Someone keeps the grass cut in the summer, but that’s about it. I took away the dead poinsettia pots and the little Christmas tree I had taken up in December and brushed all the dead leaves off his stone. At least the snow was gone.
He’s in good company, it really is a beautiful place. The neighborhood is quiet. He has a gorgeous 360 view of the blue ridge mountains. His neighbors mind their own business and stay to themselves. The silence is deafening. You can see the road below but it’s far enough away so there is no noise from from the what little traffic there is. Cell service doesn’t exist up here so there is zero danger of mine going off. So ya, the silence is quite erie, but fitting I guess.
After sitting on the ground for a while next to his stone I decided to explore the neighborhood. So many families with so many stories and so much grief. I hope it wasn’t disrespectful to check out Daddy’s new neighborhood. I was very careful to watch where I walked. I cried less this time, we caught up on everything that’s been going on. I miss talking to him soooo much.
Something about this visit was different. Instead of being distraught and anxious, I was so at peace and calm. Gone was the high wire and balance pole (for the moment anyway) and I stood with my feet planted firmly on the ground. Was it because of my surroundings or in spite of them?
Before I lost all my light I headed down the mountain. I had already stayed longer than I’d planned and I hate driving after dark. But I love being alone in the car to think, so one more monster coffee and I was on my way.
So I drove….and I thought….and I stopped occasionally to snap a picture. I remembered how many times Daddy told me to take my nose out of the book I was reading in the back seat and pay attention. It used to drive me crazy. Now I wish for just ONE MORE trip up that mountain with him. JUST ONE MORE.
It has taken me almost two weeks to get this written and posted and there has been a shift in my high wire act since I’ve been to see Daddy. I still climb that ridiculously high ladder every morning when I wake up, and tip toe out onto the wire and wait for the wind to blow. Bad news from a doctor….gust, gust, blow, blow….balance and smile. No money for the power bill……gust, swirl, gust….balance and smile. Crying littles combined with a blinding migraine and no sleep………gust, gust, gust, GUST….BALANCE DAMNIT and DON’T FORGET TO FREAKIN’ SMILE! And I do. But either I am getting used to this high wire gig or Daddy is helping me find my peace. Maybe the wire is inching closer to the ground. Maybe I see the ever so thin spider web of net forming below me. Maybe I’m just not afraid to fall. Who knows. But whatever it is, I’m not quite as afraid to wake up in the morning, and for now, that’s all that matters. Miss you Daddy xo