“It’s grief… it hits you. It’s like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability. You feel like a three legged table. Just suddenly… the Earth isn’t stable anymore. And then it passes and becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes.” — Liam Neeson on his wife Natasha Richardson’s sudden death from traumatic brain injury five years ago from (his 60 Minutes interview)
It’s a funny thing. Grief.
Funny is the wrong word. Sneaky.
When I was thinking of a song title for my last post, I googled “father and son songs”. And of course, Father and Son by Cat Stevens came up right away.
Cat Stevens was one of my father’s favorite artists. I have memories of driving to school in his Volvo, listening to Cat Stevens’ Greatest Hits on the tape deck.
I clicked on the YouTube Video that accompanied the google link:
And I started to sob.
It wasn’t just the song that reduced me to tears in front of the keyboard.
Cat Stevens looks like my dad did when I was a kid. He wrote words that would have come out of my dad’s head.
It was an immediate transport back in time. Back to memories that are still fresh and raw.
I don’t really know how to explain these waves of grief, even 15 years later. I think about him all the time in different ways. Sometimes it’s just a news story on TV and I want to talk with him about it. Sometimes it’s a memory that I can’t quite see in my head and I want to ask him what happened.
Sometimes it’s hearing about a friend battling cancer and me wishing I could do a million things differently all over again.
Those times come in and out. It’s a brief twinge and then it’s gone.
And then there are moments when the grief feels all consuming. I get stuck. Mired in a hole of what ifs and what should and shouldn’t have been.
Today could have been one of those days.
But I stopped and looked again at the photo that started it all.
And I remembered that these are the times that need my focus now.
I can choose to let the grief send me down the rabbit hole.
Or I can choose to let the grief push me to see how important and precious these moments are.
Because a boy and his dad, reading a book about boats and engines?
That’s a really big deal.
“It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them you know not me.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.” – Father And Son by Cat Stevens