The Quiet Power Behind Me

And then it was January. Or actually, February if you’re a (mild) hypochondriac and the imminent end of the first month of the year of PROMISE is slipping away into the ether. It’s been a potent start to my year, how has it been for you?

January is always full of wonder and also longing. The last day at the end of the month is the day my father died, and whether I know it or not, it’s creeping up on me like a cloud of smoke. Historically the mist has particularly choked, but right now, it’s enveloping me like my favourite incense (Nag Champa) from Stick, Stone & Bone on Christopher Street here in New York City. Less than a week away and I feel oddly ambivalent. Ambivalent towards my physicality, and more interested in the invisible threads percolating around me. You know, the ones running out into the world—into and from other humans—but mostly just zigzagging without even so much as a nod from me. Maybe this is what happens one decade on from losing the great love of your life, but I’m mighty interested in these new sensations. They feel affirmative. Different. Smiley. Like honey. Or treacle. Which is always rich and unctuous until you eat too much and feel sick. And it dribbles, which I love.

Talking about love, reclaiming the familiar while discovering new horizons of an intimate relationship is frankly wondrous; my dad lives on in my heart and mind. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of him in some context. Fucked up? Wish I could speak to dad. Done something brilliant? Need to tell dad! Met a man…DAD!!!!!! Need a bear hug and a looooooooooong walk? Where’s dad? Want to cook slow roasted lamb (his speciality)? Hurry dad, I’m hungry! Trying to be bold and jump into something new in my creative life? Well actually, he would just say jump. I ask for help now more than ever. Advice too. In fact, I want to know what people who I know intimately and don’t know from a bar of soap are thinking. Safe to assume they know something epic that I do not. How exciting is that? Dad, well he taught me THAT. My dad’s death has been the ultimate exposer. From facing my mortality to shattering the glass walls of control I thought I had carefully built, when everything crumbled around me with aplomb, it was a disaster. And then one day it wasn’t. And today it isn’t.

In becoming intimate with death and loved ones who have lost, I have seen unbelievable stances of beauty, of bravery, of devotion, of sparkling soul bursts, gosh so much that it makes me giddy thinking about it. Of course, I’ve seen self-destruction and bad behaviour (myself included), but I choose to remember not forget anymore and feel the light and the good. I’ll leave you and me with this passage of sheer candescence that touches me so very deeply:

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography—to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient


source: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient


21 replies on “The Quiet Power Behind Me

  • Isy

    So incredibly touching for me to read and so true … and beautifully expressed. Sending you so much love especially for Wednesday.

    I guess it’s called growing not necessarily up but beyond the mortal boundaries – it’s entering into the mysteries of love, existence and memory and of time and space – looking forward and living. And Im so proud of you

  • Cheryl Lewis

    Kayla .. how beautifully you are able to translate your feelings and emotions with words .. we remember dad with much love and affection .. .. .. much love ..

  • Jen Roth

    Powerful and tender message for all who have lost someone as close as you and your father. Beautifully written. You have what it takes. Go girl!

  • Mom

    It was worth the wait … the richness of the tapestry you’ve woven with your words feelings and memories wrapped me in a cocoon of love memories sadness joy and pride of how this decade of loss grief and pain has catapulted you into another dimension
    Long Life my darling KJ
    I love you and know how proud Dad would be

  • Robin

    Beautifully written and felt really emotional reading it. He is always in my thoughts and miss him. He would be really proud of you. love Robin x

  • Sandra

    Very well written. We all miss Mickey very much and know that he is looking down on you with pride. Lots of love. Thinking of you and sending lots of love xxx

  • Sary

    Feel your words so deeply. Truly moving, honest & poetically written piece. 🙏🏻
    His soul vibration will resonate forever in your heart to guide you and fill your world with the unconditional love he gave you.
    Love, Sary

  • Tara Kelly

    My dear-thank you for sharing this beautiful insight into your essence. Whenever I think of you I can only think of grace + beauty and someone who has taught me so much about perserverance. I know that those who love us most never leave us. I have no doubt that your Dad is looking down so lovingly on his incredible daughter.

  • Jeanette Marcus

    K. I read this last night with mom at the duchess. The noise around me disappeared as I went into your amazing words and feelings. K, you are so special and I love you

  • Charlotte

    When we have lost a loved one, we keep them wrapped up warm in our memories and let a thought of them slip out every day.
    I remember your Dad’s sharp wit and easy laugh.
    A well written tribute to him Kayla.
    Charlotte x


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