Friday, March 19, 2021

What Matters

This grief contains such a fierce energy, I would take over any number of towns, storm any building and raze any state to the ground just for the chance to have him back, to hear him laugh again. 

It leaves me curled in tight balls under duvets, blankets or coats, my throat is raw. 

I tell myself that if I curl up small, it won’t find me. I’ll escape it’s notice. But I can't.

Time is ridiculous. It’s permanently stood still at 9am 19th February 2021, yet it’s also rushing me away from him, the minutes carrying me away from him. It feels like it happened both moments and months ago.

The stupid thing is, I now realise it doesn't matter how comfortable you are with death in the abstract, how many death cafes you've attended, how many articles you've read. All of your knowledge, insouciance, training, it's worthless in the actual face of it and all that's left is a hard fact, colder than any polar region. 

My Dad is dead. 

I want my Dad back. 

And sometimes I'm able to, not forget, but to step aside from myself, from reality for a moment. I will laugh at something, make a plan, type an email. And then the tsunami comes, that hot wave of grief that rolls me over with it, leaving me shaking and small again. 

And angry. I'm angry with the doctors that didn't monitor his condition properly. With the traffic that got in my way as I sped over to their house that morning. With the government whose slow and patchwork response to lockdowns robbed me of time with him. With myself for spending more time on Instagram in the past year than I did with him. He was invincible to me. 

The strongest man I knew, picking up children, dogs and gnerators with equal ease. Rarely succumbed to an illness. Treated everyone with the same easy manner. I cycled foreign streets with him, climbed hills, rode horses and swam in seas. Played frustrating games of scrabble because, while not a wordy man, he was competitive and played to win. 

His laugh was loud, immoderate and ready. 

I dreamt about him 5 days after he died, surrounded by friends he hadn't seen for years, I was finally able to give him the hug social distancing had stopped me from doing for nearly a year. 

And that is the hardest part: I thought I was doing the right thing, keeping them safe by keeping my distance and it didn't matter, it never mattered and I should have been there every single week because I can't remember the last time I hugged him and I can't remember what we spoke about the last time I called. 

I don't have a conclusive ending for this post. A pithy line that sums up how I feel because oceans aren't enough to contain that. There's no neat precis, no wry acknowledgement or dry oneliner. There's just this gap that won't be filled and a feeling of absence that never goes away.

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