Small Steps

Yesterday, I did something I have never done before.

I fished with a ghost.

Rend Collective.  Album title: Campfire II: Simplicity.  Song is “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”.  

I fished with a ghost.

I know that’s a lot to take in this early in the morning.  But it is a truth fact.  Let me explain…

There is a book.  The name of this book is The Old Man and the Boy.  It was written by a North Carolina man from Southport and this book…is myfather’s favorite book.  It was always a joke at our house…I quoted from “F.R.I.E.N.D.S.” and he quoted The Old Man and the Boy.  But I digress. 

In this book, author Rober Ruark, writes about his grandfather and all that the old man teaches him about hunting and fishing and life in general.  One of the pieces of information that he divulges in his book, is that the best time of year for surf fishing…is a month with an “R” in it.  But especially November.  Well…I LOVE fishing!  So my dad has been saying for years that we were going to go fishing at Carolina Beach (mere miles from Southport) during November.  He is at the North Carolina State Fair for the middle of October…and if he had a good year this year we were going fishing!  And he had the best year he’s ever had.

The Saturday before he came home from the fair, I went hiking with my mother (and my dog).  We had the most amazing and blessed time!  A wonderful memory.  I looked so forward to fishing with my dad and having a wonderful memory with him during the same year.

Saturday: Hiking.

Monday: Dad’s hom.

Wednesday: Dad’s heart attack.

Monday: Dad’s gone.

It has now been 13 days since my father died.  I would round that up to 2 weeks…but surviving losing someone you’re that close to doesn’t need to be round up.  Because you truly believe that, at any moment, you could be not surviving.  So you take it one step at a time…bahora bahora.  But I have made it 13 days.  And on the 12th day…there was fishing. 

About half-way through my father’s hospital stay, I asked my mother’s brother for a favor.  I told him the story I’ve just shared with you.  And I asked if he would take me fishing.  And he said yes.  So, after a peaceful, mostly upbeat week at Beech Mountain…we came to the Beach.  From Beech to the Beach.

And we fished.


It was high 70s temperature wise, and a beautiful sun shining day.  I caught three small black drum and my uncle Tim caught a white drum.  (Yeah.  I won.  😉)  But it was hard.  And it was new.  And it was the first glimpse I’ve had into real life without my father.  

You see, since that fateful Monday…life has been COMPLETELY different.  Plans to make, people to talk to, services to be had, vacation to go on.  But then I ended up on the beach.  With a man I love very much, on a gorgeous day, when the fish were biting and we could see a pod of dolphins frolicking for most of the day!  And all I could remember…was that my dad was supposed to be there.

I had an appointment with my friendapist the other day.  (That is my friend who happens to be my therapist…friendapist.)  I told her my biggest two things were this: anger, over some words I was gut-punched with during this whole ordeal…and the thought that, I have no idea how to do life without my father.  She reminded me right before I left our session that the anger was healthy and understandable at this phase.  She also encouraged me to sit my anger down…and pick up this life.  Pick up this life without my father and look at it.  Study it.  Touch it.  Embrace it.  Begin to understand.  Sitting to long in my anger would stunt my grieving and slow my recovery.  And I told her I was taking my first step in that direction.

I was going fishing with a ghost.

Monday: therapy.

Tuesday: Beech.

Saturday: Beach.

Saturday night: sadness.

But you know what I learned yesterday?  What I learned the 12th day?  I learned that I could survive the sadness into the 13th day.  I learned that I could stand on the beach and fish with a ghost…and be okay.  I learned that Icould come to the campfire and tell a ghost story…and be okay.  Because I am not scared of my ghost.  We’re actually very close.  So close in fact, we like to do things together.  For example…

I love fishing with my ghost.  

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