little shifts and old clothes...

Dad's CardiganSomething's started shifting over the last week. Mini strikes of lightening through the liminal fug, brightening interior worlds just for a moment. Or several. It's these moments that when firmly rooted in the early days of grief,  I couldn't imagine feeling for a very long time. Yet...

Baking brownies, Paradise by Coldplay banging out loud and suddenly the chocolate splattered spatula becomes my microphone and I'm there, in the moment, squatting (not quite like but thinking I am...) like Beyonce and singing at the very top of my voice and range. Then the realisation, I'm singing in to a spatula and it feels soooooo flippin' good. It's been a long time. Then the realisation that a) my neighbour's can hear me and b) if they walk past my window they will see me trying to exit a squat.

Walking in to the town centre via the back route - through a historic cemetery that I just couldn't face even two weeks ago. And feeling utterly blissed out by the spring sunshine, the blue sky, the clouds, the folk from many lands and random graffiti.

Sitting on my sofa laughing hysterically with C - she keeps pretending to break wind. I feign offence. We rejoice in silliness. For hours and hours we're putting the world to rights through laughter and I'm waking up the next morning with a smile. That's the power of a good laugh.

This is what Dad wanted, for all of us to feel joy, to be as happy as possible, to laugh out loud. To try and not be sad for too long (that's the hard bit). I tell my Dad about what I've been up to, the joy bursts I've been feeling. I feel him nodding from his big sofa in the sky. Little shifts.

And old clothes...

Yet still emotions rumble and roll. Deep gulps of tears and air that seems to come from a place in my body that I didn't even know existed. Like when I went in to the little living room, now called Dad's Room and the absolute finality of seeing the clothes that hung snugly to Dad's body when he lived, all bagged up neatly in to black bin liners. I knew this time was coming, I helped Mum sort through them but it was a raw sight. I bit back the grief that exploded inside me that split second, only to let it spill out in the car driving home.

Dad was a dapper dresser all his life. Immaculately groomed and effortlessly cool. Even in his eighties. He wasn't one for many possessions. Except clothes, Dad had so many and I was gobsmacked when mum showed me the neat rows of shirts, trousers, suits, coats and turbans, all well cared for. Clothes infused with the energy that only the wearer, that one unique soul, can weave in to the fabric that covered them every day.

Yet they are only clothes, that's what Dad would say. Let them go to where they are most needed. Before everything was bagged up I was allowed to pick some of my favourite things. A beige wool cardie which was a Dad classic, his old teal turban (now tucked under my pillow where my sister in law suggested I put it for a bit of shanti) and his dressing gown. I put the dressing gown on and my Mum and sister in law laughed so much. It's far too big for me. I hugged the clothes tight and felt Dad so very close to me, he was right there.

I doubt I'll ever be an attachment-free zen lass. I'm not even attempting that level of none attachment. I'm perfectly happy with being attached to my Dad and these items of clothing. It's comfort, it's love, it's sadness, it's longing. It helps. These tiny sacred things matter, imbued with meaning, metaphor, memory and that soft smell of Indian rose and spice. I know all these things could go in a puff of smoke, just like the seconds, minutes and hours of our lives fade in to the ethers. But for now I'll embrace this emotional intensity that Dad has gifted me, that feeling of being wholly alive through tears, through joy, through breathing in 95% pure new wool and 5% acrylic.