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  • I have long been a howler. I howl at the moon.

    I do it alone, or with like-minded people.

    I also howl in agony and pain.

    Mostly, I do this in private.

    When my father died, the day before my birthday in 1998, I went through the motions in almost a catatonic state. I was both hyper awake and zonked. We visited his body at the nursing home, my mother and I. We packed up his things, we made the arrangements.

    But at the funeral, when it was time to leave, I stood by the casket where the shell of my father lay, no longer himself, as only his empty flesh remained. I refused to walk away. I didn't want them to close the casket lid. It would be the last time I ever saw "him," even though he was already gone. I didn't want them to close the lid and consign him to the flames.

    I stood there and howled.

    Everyone stared at me. They tried to get me to move away, to come with them, they nearly dragged me. I howled all the way out the door and down the street to the cars.

    Something inside me is still howling all these many years later.
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