I found an old photograph today, featuring my mother and father enjoying a night out on the town. The photo is black and white, with creases along the edges and the corners are bent a bit.
They look happy.
A sting begins to burn under my lower eyelids. I can only look at the photo for a few seconds at a time at first. Almost as if I'm stepping into a pool of memories, slowly at first.
Then I'm hit by hundreds of memories at once. What made them laugh... the big blackberry bush in the backyard... the smell of mom's meatloaf in the oven... her familiar "nneeEEllo" when she'd answer the phone... the town fair, at the art exhibition where my father would look at the art haning on the wall and he'd look at me and say "you could do better than that."
My breathing quickens... as I try to surpress something that can't be surpressed. It's not just a name you lose when someone like that passes... they're all the senses.
God they were golden. Both of them.
I've been dealing with loss for the past few weeks. I've also been working on two scenes in the new issue where I see someone die in front of me.
All of this takes me back instantly to the memories of mom and dad passing. Cold memories.
Most all of my friends have at least one parent, if not both today. They're getting older, sure... but they're there.
I miss them both terribly. I've never gotten over it. 25 years have gone by and here my eyes are burning just as bad as day one.
When people talk to me... I hear the usual stuff. "They're in a better place" or "they're always near you." The thing is, most every person who tells me this is someone who still has their parents. A mother and father, still walking and talking.
I'm sorry folks, that's not how it is.
A better place would be here with their children. Seeing them grow... seeing their grandchildren... watching one of their sons make comics. My parents aren't in a better place at all. My parents... well, they're gone. And they've been gone forever.
I had a friend of mine lose his father a few years ago. A year after, he called me to tell me that it still hurt and asked me when that hurt would stop.
I didn't try to bullshit him. I told him that after 20 years, it still hurt. It will always hurt. It SHOULD hurt.
You never get over that pain. You learn to manage it. You recognize that emotion and you can do two things. You can surpress it (I'm not sure if I'm spelling that word right) or you can let it flow over you like a wave and let it run its course.
I'm not sure why I'm going on about this. It's just that.... sometimes... it just hurts.
And those of you who read my book know what that does to me. And it actually helps to say when it does hurt. Believe it or not... I consider all you readers my friend.
Jeeze... this post should be on LIFETIME. Or a very special episode of FULL HOUSE.
Anyhoo... I'm better now that I let all that shit out. Thanks for listening.
I can look at that photo now.