Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why I Hate June 14

When you begin to learn who you really are, sometimes the thigns that seem to best describe you and highlight your personalitiy turn on you like consuming week-old pizza.  I remember things...very well.  Even a faint smell can trigger a memory that plays back in my frozen fear.  Memories are one of the few powerful things that can build confidence one day and rip you up one side and down the other in the same breath.  I'll share a personal example of what I mean.

A few years ago I was at the mall and my nose was greeted with the smell of french fries.  But not just any kind of french fries...i call them "arena fries."  Arena fries are the ones you get from an ice arena.  I smelled them every time I had a hockey practice or a game in high school.  In a moment, I was swept back to my high school years of playing hockey and a flood of memories, both good and bad, drowned me in a sort of time-freezing nostalgia. 

"They" say time heals all things.  "They" don't exist.  Unless "they" have never experienced anything.  Time has no healing balm.  Time has no power.  Time is just a human limitation.  Time is a second hand, a long arm and a short arm.  It's some numbers that tick in ascending order in the day time and then tock in descending order in the darkness.  Time is nothing and everything at the same time.  It's just a thing.  It's something I have wished away and something i have grasped onto like it were oxygen.  It doesn't do what you want, and does everything you don't want.  Time reminds you.

Time reminds me...that I hate June 14. 

I feel like sometimes people will say anything, even if it's not true, if they think it will numb an injection of pain that grief and loss deliver.  But I've found that silence is even more comforting.  It means someone is listening.  It means they care enough to let you feel the pain.  I've felt it.  I've felt the pain of hearing piercing silence in response to my recurring question, "why?"  There won't ever be an answer.  Only silence.  And sometimes the silence splits like wood, sending splinters flying without regard, reckless in their path.

I know she's not under that stone.  I know she's not under the potted flowers.  I know she's not underground.  I don't know for sure what I believe.  As a Christian, I could sugar coat what death looks like.  That my grama now has angel wings and flies and flits around.  I could say that "she's always watching,"  I could say "she's never really gone,"  I could say "she's walking on streets of gold."  But really, I don't know.  Perhaps it's supposed to be a mystery to the living.  And sometimes, with the piercing silence, it's the not knowing part that splits like wood, the splinters of my half-put-together heart.  Half-put-together because I've rebuilt it with the "promises" that I struggle to believe are true.  I wrote 2 years ago that one of the only things that brought me comfort in those early morning hours of June 14, 2012, was the promise that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."  But it really doesn't.  It was the only Bible verse I could think of.  It wasn't comforting.  It was just a thing I threw out there to take up time and space.  To band-aid over the pain i didn't want to feel.  A conversation bubble i spit out over my head to make me feel something other than what i didn't want to feel. 

After 2 years, this is all that I really know; stupid.  I'm angry.  I hate June 14.  I wasn't strong, i was numb.  I'm more confused about suffering and death than i thought.  My grama died because cancer.  Because cancer.  Becasue cancer.
Because cancer won.  I touched cancer.  I felt it.  I saw it in action. I saw it live.  I watched it throw up blood and steal the sunlight of summer.  It lived in my old bedroom.  It stews in a room with her cothes in my old closet.  It sits.  It blows.  It lingers.  It sucks.  Cancer is stupid. 

And I miss her on the day that I hate.  I hate June 14.