I’m Here

The following was inspired by a prompt from Megan Devine’s “Write Your Grief” course. I forget the actual prompt, the gist is ‘how would your loved one see you now? What’s going on for them?’. It’s in the POV of my Dad, which made me hesitate writing this (and also posting it).
Honestly though, once I started it just flowed. I wont lie, I like how this came out. Maybe it’ll resonate for you.

I’m here now, which isn’t saying much really. “Here” is a tricky concept. Remember when I was telling you about quantum physics that time? How just thinking about something can change it tangibly, rearranging the molecules in ways we only barely understand? 

Well I’m somewhere in that space. I can rewind to my earliest moments, in fact I’m fairly certain I caused that ghostly encounter on the road I told you about. That day must seem so long ago for you.

I can see the day you were born, you were so beautiful. That blond hair and blue eyes, outside of that you look just like me you know. You’re still beautiful, I didn’t mean to imply anything, but god I remember just being in aww. 

I can see you now, sitting on the porch poking at your phone. You looked up just now, I saw the tears. I wonder if they’re for me or mom, or something else entirely. 

I know this isn’t easy, Mom was having a rough time but she made that choice. I’m sorry she did that. I hope she’s at peace. 

I heard you that day you know, when you sat with me while Cindy ran some errands.  

I tried to stay, I really did. 

That day, when they told you to come, and I held on…. I never pushed myself that far physically, every muscle fiber screamed for air as I lay gasping and waiting and praying I would hold on long enough…

Then you came. I was afraid I was hallucinating when you walked in and out so quickly. That’s not my Jacquelyn. No. 

I know it’s been a rough time, but you’re made of tougher stuff. Tougher than most I’d say. In this “place” I can do more than just visit the past, I can see the vast spectrum of existence and all that entails. Took a little while to figure out the controls but I’ve got it under control now, for the most part. 

It’s amazing, and so are you. I can see the possibilities that lay before you, and all the potential the future holds for you. Know that you are capable of doing great things, and that you already have. 

I’m gonna go peak on Bridget & Wyatt now, I can’t tell if any of you guys sense my visits, but I like to check in. 

I love you, go shower and get a good nights rest. 

PS: you’re right about the birds, the hawks and the eagles. Tell Cindy for me.


Craving comfort

How would they comfort me grieving them?

For my Dad it isn’t too hard to imagine what he’d say, given that I started rehearsing his advice exactly 8 months before his death. Diagnosis Day.

I drove away that day knowing there was nowhere to turn. No one to turn to. My Dad was the person I’d’ve reached for, but I can’t exactly lean on him for support about His diagnosis. I knew Pancreatic Cancer was Bad. All cancer is bad, but PC has only a 7% survival rate to 5 years.

I also knew I would show a brave face, a hopeful disposition. I remember him telling me the words, his tone and timbre instantly etched onto my cochlea. Even now I hear it sometimes, an echo of him catching on the words. I remember we talked treatment plans, approaches. Logistics, tangible action plans.

Never what stage the cancer was.

Never the location, T-cell counts, none of that. He told me that day that he would keep me updated, but that he didn’t want this to dominate our time together.

I played along, for his sake as much as my own, never breaking face until I was alone.

In my head though I would hear him. His voice. That day as I drove home I began rehearsing. I remembered his reactions to every crisis, every conundrum or irritation I’d ever thought to share. I thought hard, concentrating on recreating his voice inside my head. The rhythms, cadences, how he’d shift his tone down deeper and feign a somber face just to tell me something ridiculous. How he’d laugh at his own ridiculousness, the jokes he made to lighten the mood when it started to weigh our conversations down.

I did all this so I could still reach you, talk it through with you, without burdening you.

How would you love me now, this sopping tear-stained shadow of a girl?

I think you would sit with me.

I think in your love you would let me cry it out, sob and scream and purge myself. I think if I’d only been able to show you, show me, how deep mom’s choice cut me maybe we could’ve talked it out.

I couldn’t. Wouldn’t. I put it away when I was with you. Her decision was not there with us, not after the morning I told you about her suicide. Your voice then seemed to mirror my own feelings. Angry at her choice, her incapacity to hope or believe in more. For her to choose death while you fought against it with everything you were, every fiber and breath…

But after I told you I pushed it away while we were together. As always your house was a place out of time, and when I’d visit whatever happened past the driveway didn’t matter.

In that place you’d care for me now, with coffee or cocoa or something to occupy my hands and my mind. Small and scared as I may be, overcome and overwhelmed just like I’d get when I was little. Those times I’d come to stay for the night and then cry inconsolably till I threw up or Mom came (sometimes Both).

Only now she’s not coming. Even if she did there’d be no solace in her presence. It would be like it was then. Her presence buying a temporary relief replaced by anxiety and shame for the want of it. For the selfishness sin of seeking comfort.

So Dad, you’ll see me, shattered and sobbing and scared, indifferent and numb, maybe you’ll even see me settled and calm.

That’s the hope at least