The sorrow over my father's death lingers, an ache swirling in my heart, triggered by reminders. Today is one of those days, the anniversary of his passing. The tapestry of his existence weaves through the fabric of my own—a narrative speckled with laughter, grit, punctuated by unscripted memories that still echo deep within me. Stirring a lifetimes of memories, and today I want to remember with my whole being.

Understanding Grief

Ours was not a television-perfect family; our relationship brimmed with a complex mix of conflict, tenacity, and deep-burning affection, highlighted by the occasional outburst of laughter. I refuse to gloss over my father's life with the veneer of idyllic memories that were alien to our reality.

In grappling with grief, it is natural to idealize the memories of the departed, often painting a portrait devoid of flaws. Yet, when we selectively reminisce, glossing over the complexities, we risk distilling a person's rich tapestry to a mere caricature of perfection. As we perpetuate this narrative to future generations, there's a danger of setting an unattainable standard for human relationships, which, in reality, are a complex mosaic of laughter, arguing, growth, and imperfection.

coping with grief

My father was born out of the depths of the marsh, where mosquitos hum, and alligators' silent glides are the only warning of their presence. In the marsh, dank mud mixes with gnarled roots, forming a stubborn mess where survival is key, and that was his essence. I, his daughter, embody those same elements -  but I am uncut dawn waters- smooth and flat, shimmering as the birds dip down to grab a bite causing ripples in the reflections of the clouds above. My life, is the tranquil surface, and the frenzied ripples, I still navigate those murky water. Those ripples stir both good and horrific memories from childhood. Though it might appear unkind, I have accepted this heritage, for it has instilled a form of endurance deep within me.  

My father was an enigma—a sanctuary of knowledge nestled within the sprawling wilderness of his being. At times, he was known as the crab whisperer, the marsh whisperer, the cajun sage, or my personal favorite, the camp B****. His knowledge was boundless, his keen eyes could effortlessly identify every bird and duck in the sky, name all the plants, reveal the best fishing spots, share the secrets of the most effective bait, and even discuss the impact of human activity on the land. His piercing observations often anticipated the interplay between nature and man, at the same time that the science of erosion began to comprehend this intricate relationship. Within the camp's secluded embrace, he harvested a perception uniquely his own. That same sharp eye and precise perception now flourishes within me, stirring in my professional endeavors as I continue to observe and draw conclusions about human behavior. My insights are not just derived from personal observations, but also supported by scientific evidence that aligns with my observations.

Remember the cherished moments & Share with loved ones

Returning to the snippets of my memory's vault where my father now resides. It is the only place I can now visit him.  Today I am transported to the sun-drenched Boston Canal—'Bow Ston'. During those charmed weekends at camp, we'd load up the boat with essentials and head toward our secluded slice of heaven. The camp was a true gem, cocooned among nature's whispers, where cozy mattresses were thrown across wooden planks. Space was never an issue; it welcomed every soul like the boundless sky.

In these sacred surroundings, my father found solace as his soul rested. Here, he radiated approachability, calm and peace. This haven became his kingdom, where the roles of father and daughter flourished. He became not only my protector but also my teacher, and I now cherish every precious moment spent together in this place.


Outside the camp is where we, the children, surrendered to summer's oppressive heat, our bodies submerged into the refreshing water. We rallied upon our makeshift raft, afloat upon the current, tethered by a rope that attached to the pier. In those moments of joy, bliss was as simple as the water's enveloping caress.

The waters' murky embrace was so dark you could not see beneath it, it required a certain amount of fearlessness to drop even a toe into the water, so excitement filled the air. This trip we were greeted not by the usual tranquility but by the unexpected—a snake, slithering across the murky canal. With a sense of urgency in their voices, the adults swiftly guided us away from the water, as the snake's unexpected appearance shattered the harmony of the marsh's symphony.

Nature's dance is often predictable in these depths—a creature's script is repetitive and constant (so are humans). Yet, when the unpredictable rears its wild head, it strikes a chord of raw instinct within us, awakening ancestral sirens of alert.

In these instances, my father, Bozie, would rise to the occasion, the mantle of guardian worn as naturally as his skin. His presence was a fortress, and his assertive call to fall back had us, adults and children, cluster—a blend of fear and the undeniable allure of the unknown. Remarkably, fear and fascination are kindred spirits; together, they craft a potent brew of aliveness.

My father's stature grew titanic in the face of peril; he thrived amidst the throes of nature's uncertainty, his confidence in the marsh was an unwavering beacon. In the midst of alarm, my father tackled the dangerous snake, a scene that left us all shouting in fear. There was a moment, a glint in his eye, that suggested he relished our startled reaction, his laughter echoed. With remarkable bravery, he chased the scaly threat with a shovel in hand, a chillingly bold act to witness.

He was not a man of violence but a man of mysteries; his interest in the confrontation between human and wildlife was born from a relentless curiosity, not a desire to destroy. His boundless thirst for knowledge was as much a part of him as his signature audacity—a legacy that now lives within me.

He drove the shovel into the snake's neck with a swift, unsparing motion that pinned the head to the blade- the reptile's final dance a display of life's fragile thread. Even in its final spasms, the scaly body writhed as though still full of life. A chorus of women's voices erupted in startled cries, the echo of the snake's last defiant wiggle. My father, both hero and sage, held the vanquished water moccasin, engaging in a lesson on nature’s raw power and the gravity of its threats.

As he separated the snakes lips to expose the fangs, an eerie silence befell the gathering. Here was Bozie, stepping effortlessly into the role of educator, captivating and cautious, unveiling nature's threats. His wisdom poured forth like the venom itself poured onto the wooden pier—potent, imminent, unassuming—a reminder of the delicate balance we all navigate. 

He commanded presence, a tapestry of many threads, woven into narratives that captivated the mind and ensnared the heart. With every tale, every lesson, and every act, he imprinted a legacy on the canvas of our memories—one where reverence and remembrance of the wild's duality would forever linger.

With a sense of awe and trepidation, he invited all the children and adults to witness the venom of the water moccasin. As we gathered around, he enlightened us about the potential consequences of a snake bite. His words carried weight as he emphasized how even a small amount of venom could prove harmful, regardless of whether the snake was alive or dead.

My father was a complex blend of roles: protector, educator, and even a hint of something more primal. He possessed a certain aura that made him seem both untouchable and vulnerable at the same time.

During the moment when he showed us the venom on the wooden pier, we gathered around like a tightly-knit team, eagerly awaiting the next play. The air was filled with a hushed silence and palpable anticipation. As we stood close together, he suddenly lunged the snake's head towards some of us, his laughter mixing with our startled reactions. It was a masterful display of using curiosity, fear, and humor to drive home his point.

Bozie transcended mere humanity; he embodied the essence of nature's power. His presence was magnetic, drawing all eyes to him, not only because of his awe-inspiring stature, but also due to the electric energy that radiated from within him. He had the remarkable ability to seamlessly transition from seriousness to laughter in an instant, keeping us on our toes. Like the ever-changing marsh, he too was unpredictable, forging a deep connection with the untamed wilderness. However, delving into the intricacies of his unpredictability will have to wait for another blog post.

He became an embodiment of the delicate dance between danger and protection, leaving an indelible mark on our consciousness about the importance of being attuned to nature and the present moment. Perhaps, in this fusion of opposites, he taught me the art of navigating life amid its unexpected twists and turns. Those instincts, that lightning-fast thinking, nurtured by his insatiable curiosity, are cherished treasures that continue to guide me.

Remember to give yourself permission to grieve, no matter how much time has passed. Grief is a stubborn companion that needs a voice.


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