Missing One

As strange as it may sound, I MISS the wincing sting I felt in the first couple of years after losing Roxy. A wincing that brought the end to so much of what I had been. It twisted my back and made me old. It made me permanently nervous. And yet, somehow, over 5 years out, I miss the immediacy of that pain.

Sometimes I search through my emails and my journals and my songs just to reunite with the horrifying disbelief of our loss. During those first couple of years, I couldn’t WAIT to escape it. I counted days away from Roxy’s death. Yet now, somehow, sometimes, I want to go back.

I recently went on an email spelunking mission, looking through my archives, searching “song” and “Roxy” and seeing what came up. I wanted to remember the songs that saved me or destroyed me in the aftermath of losing our daughter.  I came across this exchange I had with my good friend Faith about a song that hit me hard at the time, and it just washed me out to the Roxy Sea, an ocean of beautiful grief… and it is beautiful, my grief. It IS my Roxy. It’s all I got to keep.

I’m told “Missing One” by Bonnie Prince Billy was written about his father, but it sure hit home for me that night. Here is a portion of my exchange with Faith as well as the song itself.

KENNY: “…it’s been rough this month… just feeling the day come around the corner.  Last night I had practice in Indy and I was driving home and I was just flooded with it all… Roxy’s face and skin and the nightmare after they took her away from us and out of our room for good.  I was listening to the new Bonnie Prince Billy, but just lost in my own sadness, kind of allowing myself to go through it again (I rarely do that, but sometimes it just needs to be done)… suddenly this song comes on:  Missing One (god have you heard it?).

I know that missing you has just begun
There’s years to come
And trying to sleep tonight next to your kin
Is fully lovely as I’ve ever been
But I wouldn’t trade my life for someone’s millions
And I know you left for a reason
And the trees and flowers and creeks and rocks
Hold your face for every season
I know I will continue to try and please you
And even in some ways,
To try and be you
But also my fulfillment will be to do what I do
As you taught me to
I know that missing you has just begun
Love me family
And just sleep to all of us

I felt like it had sprung right from my sad heart right that moment, sung to Roxy.  The moon was a little more than half full but really lit up the whole sky.  I almost disappeared completely into it all.  I listened to the song over and over again.  I tried to invite the tears to come, but they wouldn’t.  I really wanted to feel that release.  still, it was magical, sad, and somehow important.”

FAITH: “Oh man. Those lyrics do seem sent straight to you… I haven’t heard the song, but being a Bonnie Prince Billy fan, I’m guessing it’s not up-tempo.

I can really imagine that scene – the highway, the song, the moon, the memories. It’s a beautiful image, heartbreaking as it is. I think Will Oldham should list his occupation on his tax form as “professional tearjerker.” The tears will return when they need to, my dear friend, preferably when you’re not driving.”

It seems, even under a year away that I felt too disconnected from my pain. It has been more than 5 years now, and the tears still haven’t fully come. Or maybe they spilled backwards into my brain and blood. Or maybe the missing has just begun.

Do you ever feel too far away from your grief? Do you try to keep it close? If so, how?