This month marks four years since Dad passed. I don’t like to linger on thoughts of his death too often; it’s easy to let myself sink into sadness. But sometimes the universe likes to nudge me, knowingly, and sometimes I listen.
You taught me the courage of stars before you left, How life carries on, endlessly, even after death, With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite, How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.
Sleeping at Last, “Saturn”
Gwen asked me for a “lullaby song” to go to sleep tonight, and this one came to mind. It always reminds me of Dad; how we’d stand outside during meteorological events, watching the sky together.
That feeling of smallness against the vast canopy of darkness and stars and planets is comforting — knowing that we’re all temporary space dust, that my problems don’t even register on a grand scale, that I don’t need to have all the answers. Contemplating infinity imparts perspective; it’s like meditation, but all I have to do is look up.
Thanks, Dad, for reminding me to look up once in a while.
It’s been three months since you passed away, and I’m missing you harder than usual lately. Part of me can’t believe you’re really gone, though enough has changed in your absence that there’s no other explanation.
We had a “happy hour” in your honor at the summer party; you showed up right on time, in the form of a short-lived thunderstorm that drove us all into clusters under the tents. We sang Three Little Birds and Wild Thing. I could picture you playing the guitar alongside our friends and family, but I missed your voice singing along.
The other night, I dreamt I saw your ghost. You walked past the front window and vanished at the porch. It was more comforting to think of you that way, as a spirit; the dreams where you appear alive are harder to process the next morning. So close, and yet not close at all. Sometimes you’re still sick in the dreams, sometimes you’re not. I wake up greedy, wishing I could have more time with you.
Every time I look at the stars, I think of you. Venus and Jupiter appeared next to each other in the sky last month, and I thought you would have loved to see that. It’s the kind of thing that would have brought you outside into the night to look up, held in rapt attention. You were always fascinated by the sky.
I know this sounds morose, but we’re doing OK. You left behind a strong family. We’re not wallowing. Thanks to you, I’ve realized how little time we have, and it’s inspired me to keep going, to do all the things I want to do before it’s too late.
It catches up to me at night, though, and that’s when I write these letters to you in my head. This time, I thought I’d write one for real.