And my uncle. And my cousin. Each a year apart, from completely unrelated things. Maybe the universe is just trying to be efficient and let me have one really shitty day instead of a few spaced further apart. I am doing the only thing I can which is writing about it. Art for me has always been a way to allow emotions to leave my body. I know if I sit down and write, or paint or play a song, or just run for long enough, the thing will leave me and I will be able to feel something new, and maybe the new thing will feel better than the last.
I have this dream where my father meets my daughter and my son, and she’s obviously shy and she hides behind me. He’s in a wheelchair and I think that’s strange for kids. He’s in a hospital, some kind of asylum or something. After we finish hugging, he looks at me and says, “Can I come home now?” I don’t know what it means but I do know there’s a kind of weight on me because my kids will never meet him and so in some way, I have to try and translate some part of him from the past, into the moments I have with them. I have to tell the stories he couldn’t, try and do the jokes and the bits he did.
It’s just a day for being sad. The strange thing is, I forget. I forget for a few days around the anniversary and I think to myself, “What the fuck is wrong with me?” And I try and work out why I’m feeling anxious and depressed and like I’m swimming up river and then I remember, someone says something or I see something and then I remember, oh yeah, today’s the day I got the phone call from my mother, “Your father didn’t wake up, I need to the number for the priest, the one who married you, do you have it?”
We were married in the backyard of my parent’s house two weeks before he died, so that he could be there. Which makes it sound like we knew he was going to die, we didn’t, he’d had multiple sclerosis since I was born and so I grew up watching him go from cane, to walking sticks, to a wheelchair, to a bed, so he was always dying in front of me but you forget about the things in front of you when they’re always in front of you. I am not religious, just spiritual. As I wrote somewhere, a wave does not stop being a wave when it crashes against the shore. The wind does not stop being the wind.
So I like to thing he’s here in some small way, in a joke, a smile, a photo. I miss him. And my uncle. And my cousin. And I’m just going to spend today missing him, and resting my head on his feet when we watched tv, and his dumb jokes and his presence and the fact that sometimes he’d just come into a room I was reading in and he’d just sit there in the same room as me, doing nothing, making me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t understand why he’d do it, but I understand now dad. I understand.
I miss you. We all miss all of you.