Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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Joel Peckham is an essayist, poet, and scholar. His most recent books include the poetry collection God’s Bicycle and a book of essays titled Resisting Elegy: On Grief and Recovery. He teaches at Marshall University and lives in Huntington, West Virginia, with his wife and son.
Recently my twelve-year-old son, Darius, matter-of-factly informed me that he was playing football in the fall.
“No, you aren’t,” I said.
Feeling less alone — in the pool, in my grief — should be a comfort, but it robs you of something. We are possessive even of our pain. We become it, and even the suggestion that it could be shared is frightening. We want to be alone with it, to caress it and learn to love it like a child, saying, This is mine and mine only.