Unfamiliar, or: Piercing

A haibun

Nearly one year after my father died, I wrote the following:

Disconcertingly out of sync, perceptions jumbled, receptors misfiring, I remain immediately near but never fully within the self Iโ€™d always known, receiving on an unfamiliar, piercing wavelength.

Slowly, slowly, I have come to understand
this: My pulse has been attuned to loss.

-Me, The Skeptic’s Kaddish #47, June 23, 2019

Today, these words of mine still resonate with me, but for two of them – ‘unfamiliar’ and ‘piercing’.

Grief is no longer ‘unfamiliar’ to me. It’s part of my daily experience. It goes beyond my father’s death to include the dissolution of my extended family, the seemingly irreconcilable tension of having loved ones that I dislike, dreams I’ve abandoned, and the seeming pointlessness of existence, possibly beyond creating art and being kind to others.

Grief is no longer ‘piercing’ to me. I sponge it up, letting it suffuse my being, thereby dulling it. A primary goal has become to protect my 7-yr-old daughter from unnecessary pain to the extent possible (not forever – but for now) by bearing the brunt of understanding. I paint a picture of life for her that is much more colorful than my true perception of it.

immortal candle
cypress mourns all human dead
transcends traditions

Go Dog Go Cafeโ€™s Haibun Wednesday

  • This weekโ€™s prompt is to write a haibun about grief.
  • From Poetry.org:
    • In How to Haiku, Bruce Ross writes, “If a haiku is an insight into a moment of experience, a haibun is the story or narrative of how one came to have that experience.”

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

40 thoughts on “Unfamiliar, or: Piercing”

  1. Very well written. Grief is a part of my life also. Both loved ones who have passed away and estranged family. I look for gratitude every day because I have no control over the losses in my life.

  2. David, i do know why I am drawn to certain blogs. There are real people on the other end. Sharing what my might be their sigular experience yet tells a the human condition I live with daily. Such “living” and “dealing” comes and can seem so unrelenting in its pursuit of me and my fractured emotions. I lost my Grandmother, brother in law, Father, Step- Mom, and my husband’s Dad within 10 months (oct, dec 2019; feb, jul 2020). Thank you for your blog and sharing you truths across the world.

  3. Right before Pesach, it will be six years for me, and it’s not unfamiliar, as it is not for you, but piercing it still is, especially around holidays.
    Much love,

  4. My grief has mingled the past loss of my father with the fresh loss of my mother. I struggle to see all the colors that I know are there. I spoke with my physician and heโ€™s of the mind that Iโ€™m coping very well and not in need of medication (which I agree with). I believe that the grief will always be with anyone who has the capacity for love. That you still feel it and want to protect your daughter from that pain means you have a love greater than what you imagined and stronger than even deathโ€ฆ.

    1. Solemnly beautiful
      Full of understanding
      Support and compassion
      An overflowing of love and widom Transcending tradition
      In the grief and in the healing.

      Soul stirring word placing

  5. Itโ€™s taken me ten years to move beyond that point. Now I think of them, remember them as if theyโ€™re still with me, and love them. But itโ€™s not been an easy journey.

  6. This raised a lot of feelings in me. A bit too complicated to address here. But thanks. One phrase that caught my attention was โ€œloved ones that I dislikeโ€. And another was โ€œI paint a picture of life for her that is much more colorful than my true perception of it.โ€ Thought provoking.

  7. “Grief is no longer unfamiliar to me, part of my daily existence” I understand this! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

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