Finally, in a short while, I will return to the barber shop. I had my most recent haircut around the middle of August. I had scheduled a return visit for September 14, but I cancelled that date when our travel plans interfered. I could have rescheduled upon our return from our road trip, but I allowed myself to procrastinate. So, a month and a half beyond my “monthly” trim, I return. Today’s “trim” will be more than a trim. It will be more like a remodel. A revision to my appearance. My appearance will change more dramatically than I it would have, had I returned to the barbershop earlier. I wonder: will I ever stick with a regular schedule of barber visits? Or should I simply allow my hair to grow, unfettered, again?


I am unprepared to write much. No matter that November, the month for writing books, has begun. I am unable to spur creativity. It remains dormant. Asleep and unwilling to awaken.  Today feels dreary, thus far. As if the world is awash in grey dust and fog.


Ten years ago today, on her birthday, I wrote a short piece remembering my late sister, Mary Eleanor, or Melnor as we called her, who had died three years earlier. Eight months ago, on January 29, I wrote that my brother, Tom, had died that morning. And just six days before Christmas two years ago, Janine, my wife of almost 41 years, died after spending about five months between hospitals and so-called rehabilitation facilities. As I remember these people I loved, these missing pieces of my life, it occurs to me that grief is ever-present. We cannot avoid it. Though we know it stalks us, we try to outrun it. We try to outwit it. We try to cope with it. Coping with grief is impossible. We must simply let it wrap itself around us, squeezing us until all the tears have been wrung out of our bodies. Yet tears always return, perpetual reminders that loss cannot be outrun. Loss cannot be reasoned out of existence. We simply face it. Either we weather it or we don’t.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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