One small year and some tiny kittens

Well, here it is: the day I’ve been dreading. It’s been one year since my dad died. I thought I would have a lot to say about that, but I find myself oddly quiet on the subject. The only thing I’ll say is what I wrote in an email to my sister this morning:

I still miss Dad very much, of course, but I’m also amazed at how much healing happens in the course of one year. Then again, I’m equally amazed at how much still hurts after a whole year has passed. It’s almost like time and healing can be measured in two different dimensions, on two different scales, with one exceeding my expectations and one falling so very short. Or whatever. I guess that’s why it’s easier just to say “life is funny.” 😉

Shawn Colvin already summed it up for me, anyway, with this song:


One Small Year
by Shawn Colvin

One small year
It’s been an eternity
It’s taken all of me to get here
Through this one small year

The hands of time
They pushed my down the street
They swept me of my feet to this place
And I don’t know my face

Now all through the night I can pretend
The morning will make me whole again
Then every day I can begin
To wait for the night again

One more tune
That will never be done
It’s just another one for the moon
For the days in the ruin

Just today I woke up feeling fine
Like the world was mine
I was clean
And it was a dream

Where out of the blue came you and me
The Wizard of Oz had set us free
You let me float you to your feet
Just like you believed in me
It’s like you believed in

One small year
I wonder where I’ve gone
It shouldn’t seem so long or so weird
And I was always here

It’s just one small year

Race for the Cure, Nashville, November 2006Yesterday, the Race for the Cure came through our neighborhood, and I stood outside with a cup of coffee and watched them, thinking of my dad, and how he lost his race. But it was encouraging to see how many people turned out to help raise money for the cause, so maybe someday cancer will be a thing of the past.

Speaking of raising money for good causes, last night, we went to two fundraisers. The first was for the Nashville Humane Association: Anipalooza. Heh. We went to the one last year, too, and I’m sorry to say that this year’s wasn’t as good as last year’s. Last year they had doggie speed dating, which was just about the cutest thing ever, but that was gone this year for whatever reason. The music in the main tent was also too loud, meaning you could barely hear someone shouting next to you, and you sure weren’t going to casually mix and mingle and get to know new people.

Karsten and kittens at Nashville Humane AssociationOn the plus side, there were kittens inside the shelter, which just about makes up for any shortcoming in event planning. Just like last year, Karsten was in one of the cat rooms playing with kittens most of the time we were there, and drew a crowd watching him get the kittens all excited. You should have seen these kittens crawling all over Karsten. I took pictures but they only hint at the stinging cuteness of it all.

After that, we went to back to our neighborhood for the “Heart and Soul” benefit at Werthan Lofts, for the American Heart Association. The contrast was stunning: someone there must be a professional event planner or something. They gave out wine glasses to each attendee, along with maps of the building showing the lofts that were open for the event. And then they had signs up on the hallway walls and balloons marking the entrance of each open unit to help people find their way through the somewhat confusing layout of the building. Plenty of volunteers, plenty of wine, plenty of cool people, and plenty of music ensured that it was a great party. A lot of folks were there from the Germantown neighborhood, too, which was fun.

My two favorite men in the worldA Vietnamese coworker of Karsten’s used to say: so much good, so much bad. I think of that a lot, and I consider it a victory when the bad doesn’t overshadow the good. Right now, as much as it still hurts to miss my dad, I know the good in my life — like loving and being loved so deeply by someone as wonderful as Karsten, and having a job I enjoy, and being part of a community of great people, and living in a home we have the ability to enjoy and improve, and having good friends, not to mention that I was lucky enough to have had a dad as wonderful as he was — all that good is as bright as sunlight and nothing can overshadow it. And I guess that should be enough to get me through another small year.

13 thoughts on “One small year and some tiny kittens

  • This is an incredibly thoughtful, balanced post. I’m really quite impressed with how you’ve dealt with everything you’ve been through in the last couple of years, and come out so clearly on top.

    -J

  • Wholeheartedly seconded. It’s been a hell of a year (and a half, if one looks all the way back to spring of 2005), and you’ve weathered an incredible amount and still managed to share love and friendship and enthusiasm and passion with your tribe. I salute you, my friend.

  • Thanks for thinking the good thoughts, and thanks for identifying yourself as the thinker of the good thoughts. I’ve been thinking thoughts about you and your Mrs lately, too, I have. Hoping we can all get together, like, soon.

  • Kate – You’ve written your November novel right there, and I’m not being ‘cute’. The balance, the light and the dark, losing your dad and appreciating Karsten more, even down to the two benefits – wow. I am moved reading your post and I am smiling. Part of it reached into that place in my heart that remembers my dad way way long ago. My dad died 20 years ago this year. The pain isn’t so acute, but I still miss him. Sometimes I’ll see a painting or something stupidly funny that I know he would appreciate and I feel cheated, because he SHOULD be seeing this.

    Anyway, bravo to you and Karsten..whatta ‘kitten’ magnet, lol.

  • It is amazing how different the loss is after time goes by. The loss is still there, obviously, and for me, sometimes I find I miss him more and more as the years go. It’s good to be able to have them as bright, wonderful memories.

  • Thank you, John, not just for the kind words about my post, but for the commiseration and especially for the reassurance that the pain does lessen.

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