Talking through sorrow
On August 7, a friend lost her husband. He was recovering from a bone marrow transplant and died of a secondary blood infection. He was 54 years old. We talked openly and honestly every time we met. She would tell me how he immigrated here, how much he loved music, how lonely the king-sized bed was now that he was gone, and how her daughter was coping with the loss of her father. The last time I saw her, I found myself talking about my dad, who died on January 16, 2013. I think of Dad every day but don’t speak about him unless I am with family. This time, however, I told her about how Dad hunted, let me help him cut and wrap the deer carcass while my Mother and sisters ran into the house, horrified. To this day, I do not find it so horrifying. Sure, the deer was dead but it didn’t bleed or have guts spilling all over like on the Walking Dead.
Dad taught me that the deer’s spirit allowed him to take its life and he honored the sacrifice by making sure it was used to feed and clothe us. Besides cooking the meat, he traded the hide for gloves and even sold the long white hairs from the tail to a company that made fresh water fishing flies. The antlers were fashioned into hooks and gun racks.
I found myself telling all this to my friend and she listened to me just as I had listened to her. It was one of the most meaningful ten minutes I’ve had in months and I am so grateful that we were able to share our foundest memories of our loved ones.
I miss you, Dad.
BORN IN WINTER
I was reared in winter
tumbled in drifts deep as my hips
made snow angels and an igloo
in pop’s sleeping garden.
Daddy taught me how to fillet fish
butcher deer; Waste nothing
or its spirit will be sad.”
I brought the head to Pop
my sisters disappeared into the bathroom,
“Bambi’s mother is dead
I’m a child of a hunter, a wife of a hunter
I understand their desire imprinted
upon their souls before they were born.
But I’m thankful for supermarkets.