Thursday, September 10, 2015


There might be many reasons to write. To establish one's thoughts, to know what one thinks, to get something out that you can only really tell yourself, to relive a piece of your history over again, to release the portions of your feelings you can no longer keep contained. Today it is a little bit of everything - kind of like my resume. I spent the day at a funeral for my brother-in-law's father, who was killed in a car accident while I and a portion of my family was back in Chicago for a holiday visit. While we were there, I saw things I remembered and things I didn't. I was in places where the only proof I had of existing there in a previous time was a feeling. The strange feeling one gets when something seems familiar, but one cannot recall the actual memory in one's mind. I also saw some places that I recognized from other dimensions - a recent vivid dream where I didn't exactly know where I was, but I know now. Whether astral projection, a repressed memory from this life, or a memory from a previous one, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, I now know I was in the place where my current existence originated. I still don't know what my spirit was trying to reconcile or reveal, but that will come with time.

I saw things about my roots that helped me understand what has shaped me, and things that I have moved on from. I wondered what my life would have been if my family had stayed, if I would have turned out differently. Or if I had gone back to the area to attend college or moved back as I've thought of doing. The house on Liberty Street didn't look as big as I remembered, neither did the river, or the parks, or the roads. A city changes, whether you're there to become engulfed in the details or existing somewhere else in space and time. A part of it seeps into you, once you've become a part of it, spreading its influence through the veins that carry life to each part of your body. It mixes with whatever else is there, whatever else the veins pick up as they carry what your fragments need to live as a whole being. I'm not surprised now when I reach for rye bread, listen to jazz and the blues, feel drawn to old houses and architecture, feel the rush of the L and the sounds of trains, carry out the strong work ethic of my family, honk my horn at drivers on the road, feel drawn to the water and the sounds of a pier, and display the sarcastic irritation (and sense of humor)a lot of the area's residents do. This place is a piece of me and I am a piece of this place.

My father may be at the bottom of that infamous lake. Somewhere along Lake Shore Drive, lined with expansive city towers and expensive hi-rise condos, Lincoln Park, the Zoo, Michigan Avenue shops, St. Joseph's, and memories that are hard to recall. My father could be anywhere and that I will not know. I couldn't say good-bye, because what is there to say good-bye to? If everything happens simultaneously, then he is still there. There isn't a grave to visit in a cemetery, like the ones for my great grandparents or uncle. There isn't someone to pick us up at the airport, like my aunt. All I have are stories, scattered memories, a voice, and the unknown. So when someone else's father suddenly vanishes, I get it. I've been through it twice. One I have ashes for. The other...air.

The truth is, it seems as though it's chance as to why some of us get to keep our parents for longer than others. It's never fair and it always hurts. Those of us who lose them early enough to accumulate only scattered memories (if any at all) have it entwined into our roots. It's a piece of our identity, a piece that can't be released, something that branches off into something bigger than what we realize until a reminder is in front of us. Perhaps that's why it's covered, unseen, forgotten until it becomes important. Until we realize that who we are is who someone else is, too. Part of who we are is unique, but part of it originates from the same beginning; unseen, until we dig up what has held us in place.


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