Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taige's House

How do you begin to formulate a thought you never imagined or wanted to imagine having to conceive?  I guess for me, I start to write. It is an outlet, a step closer to forming a clear thought or feeling, clear my mind, vent, and now, something to share. I’ve started by asking for help, from Taige.  He is around us all, and I have felt his presence on and off all day.  Figured I might as well put him to work. ☺

When I think of you, Taige, my heart opens and is flooded with an overwhelming sense of comfort and love.  You always had such an astonishing ability to make people feel comfortable, loved, and joyful.  In the rare occasion that you were down, it meant so much to be there for you, with a shoulder to cry on and heartfelt words to soothe you.

Yesterday every time I heard a car drive by, I thought someone was going to stop and come to my front door.  I saw myself opening the door and a familiar face saying to me, “Just kidding! It was all a big joke!” It never happened. The couch called my name in the mean time and I sat there for several hours after using my restless energy to bake batch after batch of cookies.  I sat there and felt numb.  Not having slept the night before, the little reserve I had left was put to basic functions like keeping my eyes open and sitting up. Regardless of my exhaustion I couldn’t put my mind to rest. On and on its gone in waves of emotion resting somewhere between numb and drowning.
I went to your house today. Beth was gone, visiting with one of your friends who had come in to town because I’m sure they were feeling the same sense of lost. It was surreal. Like nothing was really the matter, I was just walking in to your house and we were going to get on our bikes and ride away to have some fun… except that my chest felt heavy. I turned the corner and headed to your room, walking past your backpack on the floor right where you had left it and just as Beth had said it was there, haunting her also. I walked into your room and stepped over the dirty jeans and towel you had left on the floor in a hurry. Nothing seemed out of place except for the fact that I was in your room and you were nowhere to be found. Pile of laundry on the other side of your bed, a Centro t-shirt on top of the pile, right next to your favorite tie-dye shirt from Parker. On top of your dresser a framed photograph of your family. Black and white, maybe a few years old, you standing tall above everyone else wrapping them all in a bear hug.
    Your bed lies just as you left it, I can almost see the indent of your 6’8” body in the mattress still. On the floor a pair of shoes, retro Nike high-tops, size 12, red, white, and blue, lie waiting for you to wear them to a party. I passed by the closet and saw the rest of your shoes neatly piled into their cubbies, along with the biggest pair of snowshoes I have ever seen, and ski poles that reach all the way to my chin. At that moment I began to feel overwhelmed and turned in a circle to take in your whole room at once.
    And then, the blue plaid jacket. I can imagine it was your favorite thing to wear, after Parker’s tie-dyed shirt of course, because it allowed you to participate in your favorite activity- skiing. Really you loved anything that allowed you to be outdoors and active, but most especially if it involved white fluffy snowflakes. I don’t doubt that skiing in the snow was your preference and favorite, but Mike Dahl was remembering you shoveling snow out front of Centro, ear to ear cheesy grin, so happy to be out in the snow for any reason at all.
    For a few moments I just looked at your ski jacket hanging there in the closet. I thought about taking it off of the hanger and putting it on, but didn’t want to disturb your bedroom before your family arrived to have their own moment there.  So I took hold of the hanger and pushed it aside a little, running my hand down the sleeve and through the inside trying to take in the soft feeling of it, trying to remember the warm body that should be filling it. Remembering you in your blue-plaid jacket was too much and the sparse sense of control I momentarily felt over my emotions was gone in an instant. My cheeks felt warm and wet with tears and I was crying with a sentiment of overwhelming helplessness and yearning. I walked from the closet at the end of the bed around to the left side of the bed where you had last slept and ran my fingers over the dark blue flannel sheets, letting myself be overwhelmed by what was coming out and over me. Breathe in, and out, stand up, walk to the bathroom. Messy, just as you left it, toothbrush, razor, eye drops, deodorant, all left in a hurry. The purple trucker hat you loved to wear hangs with a plastic lei, next to a few other hats I had never seen you wear and three pairs of sunglasses. You always loved to wear that purple hat.
    In the kitchen I stop to leave a note and some of the cookies I couldn’t stop baking for Beth. It is hard to think of Beth coming home now to a house that will be empty of your bountiful love and energy. I am happy to be there with her to share memories and tears, as you would have done for any of us.

Most of your friends don’t know what to do with themselves. Some are still in shock and have yet to grasp a hold of the gravity of what has passed. Even with shock they gather together and bask in the presence of you through each other. Those of us past the shock feel pain and the impossibility of the fact that there will not be one more hug, one more dance party, or one more long talk over coffee. Still, your love is never ending and there is enough for us all. We will all gather together for an endless journey of grieving you, and be there to help each other find tomorrow.

Much love,

(pictures of today's visit to the right by the hit counter)


Connie Loftis said...

Very heartful and Beautiful. I only met Taige once. He was very friendly and very tall! He was a large presents in every way and reading this truly took me into his life in a very personal way.
A quote from the book The Profit says: "When you are sorrowful look again into your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

Feeling the sorrow tells me of his delight...


Jaime said...

Tears warm my cheek as well as i read your words. Thank you Crystal