Loss when you don’t believe in Heaven…

I do not believe in Heaven.

I believe this one life is the beautiful, shining opportunity we get to make the most of our time.

So when my Dad died in my arms in late February some of the shock and soul-searing pain stemmed from my belief that he is gone.

Gone, gone, gone.

Never coming back gone.

Also, that I will not see him again. There is no after-life wherein we get to hug it out and catch up on all he has missed. He will simply miss it and I will miss him.

In the time between then and now the only comfort I’ve had is knowing that I showed him and told him every single day that I loved him like crazy. That, and the fact that he is done with all the things that can go wrong in a life, he doesn’t have to worry, fret, or feel pain. He is free.

If I go down to his workroom and close my eyes I can almost remember the smell of him when he did woodworking.

If the day is quiet and I have slept well I can close my eyes and see his last expression or remember our last words to each other.

If I wear his sweater when I’m crying myself to sleep in a world where my father no longer lives than I get peace from knowing the molecules in that sweater once touched him.

I cannot feel him with me because he is no longer here.

I don’t know if this means my grief is different from someone who believes in Heaven but I do know that I feel completely bereft and all of the kind words in the world about having my Dad with me here in some capacity are not comforting.

Just tell me this shit sucks and that losing your person is really hard and then lets go get coffee. If I can breathe I might open up and tell you that sometimes when I can’t sleep I go down to the living room and have a snack with his ashes, remembering all the times in our lives our insomnia drove us to be downstairs, late at night, raiding the fridge, together.

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