It’s the waiting.
the interminable waiting for you to return,
to enter the room,
to open a door,
to call my nickname or ask me for something.
it’s the feeling
of a breath not fully taken
not fully released,
held eternally in expectation
while time moves on without you.
it’s the knowing
that given a choice you would return
you would call
you would come back.
you have no choices.
it’s sinking feelings
it’s desperate feelings
it’s lonely and sorrowful
hurt beyond repair feelings.
it’s hearing a word only you used to say
smelling your favorite food,
seeing a project you would like,
hearing a joke you would laugh at,
singing to a song you would love
out of sight
little by little or boulder by beastly boulder.
it’s closing my eyes
slowing my mind
so I can try and remember
the feel of your hand in mine.
the sound of your voice in my ear.
It’s the wretched emptiness
where you once were
that cuts me
over and over
while my insistent heart waits for you to return.
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.
I had intended to return to writing here regularly but then I got distracted by art, and family, health, and pets, the state of the world, and the long list of chores that haven’t gotten done.
I’ve been relearning to love myself as a disabled person. Relearning to view my contributions to the world and my role in it.
Today I learned there is a term for me, dynamically disabled. Someone whose disability ebbs and flows with the vagaries of their body. Someone who can spend three hours deep cleaning the house one day and can barely get out of bed the next.
It’s been difficult learning to manage dynamic disability. It pretty much requires educating nearly everyone in your life to not depend on you. Which sucks. A lot. Especially for those of us who are used to being depended on.
I am getting better at managing me and the world around me. I am by no means perfect at it and I likely never will be. I am getting better.
So I am going to try to start writing again. Here. We’ll see if this time I manage to avoid the distraction.