It’s a fierce thing that
hits me hard every few hours,
a hard knot between my sternum and soul
that refuses to unravel,
a despair so sharp I am sure
it could break me.
The days between the day you died
feel like centuries.
There is so much to tell you.
I brave this summer with chipped nails
and a silent half-empty heart,
where your memory, our memories,
sit to stew and fuel me until tomorrow,
where I will have to wake up,
and start over again.
We are dealing. It hasn’t been easy because when something big happens normally, Dad is the one we ask for advice. This time, we are doing it for him. I have been trying to the strong, but yesterday, the day we laid him to rest, was a rough one for me. I cried and didn’t care who saw. I left a part of my heart at that cemetery.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to have to miss my dad.
And I do not like the house without him. I will be glad when we move and every single thing won’t remind me of him. I’m so sad when I see the emptiness that he left here for us. Sometimes I feel like I could just overflow with this ache that I have when I want to talk to him about something. And all I can think is “No, not my dad.”
I have heard people talk about losing a parent, but until you experience it, you have no idea. I never did. It’s a whole different feeling that I never knew existed. An achey numbness that at some point will probably wear off and leave me feeling thankful for the relationship we had, thankful for the two months when we knew “it” was coming. But right now, it’s something I can’t shake.
I always thought I was the tough one, but now I’m not so sure. It’s nothing you are ever prepared for.
I remember the faded-in-the-summer-sun red Coleman cooler,
old and worn,
holding the smell of sour,
salt and pepper shakers, just in case,
a fork tucked wrapped inside napkins
and tucked between pamphlets of content
I cannot recall.
Dad would ramble in the house after work,
dusty and tired from spending the day staring
through the dirt-speckled glass of his Caterpillar blade,
yellow and rusty,
with Herrmann’s printed along its side.
Mom would have dinner waiting,
something made from scratch,
hot and flavorful,
and never appreciated enough.
I remember the entire house smelling
of a construction site during those evenings,
with roused dirt brought in on his boots
skimming through our nostrils while we watched tv,
lying on the cool hardwood floor.
Wheel of Fortune, wrestling, Urkel.
We would tire and saunter
off to our twin beds
in front of open windows,
hoping for some kind of breeze,
and that cooler would sit in the kitchen
next to the wallpapered wall patiently,
ready to be picked up and packed full
the next morning, to start all over again.