You Went Away

CW: Parental Death

Honestly, sometimes I forget you aren’t here. I forget you both aren’t. But you especially. I’ll see something in the house that needs fixing and think, “oh I’ll ask … .” But there’s no one to ask about that noise or the loose thingamajig. There’s no one to tell about the sale of BBQ accessories or ginger ale. There’s no one to text after football. There’s no one to take to the movies. There’s no store to find you in just listening for your laugh. I forget.

You went away.

I don’t know where you went exactly. Truly, I mean, you didn’t go anywhere. Your last physical place of rest was the last place I saw you. In a small bed, with the dim overhead light on. Why do they put those lights right there, they are so intrusive. But, where did your mind go when your body couldn’t support it anymore? Where did your dreams go and where did your jokes go? Your disease ate them. Your body robs your mind in order to end your essence. Lucky for that disease you passed your essence on to us before it even laid waste. I don’t know where you went.

You went away.

Your body isn’t here and I can’t hear your voice and that robs me of comfort on days I need it most. But then we were not the pair that talked together. I used to think you forgot I was there but I know you didn’t. We were just more the same than not and didn’t need the chatter together. We’d hold hands and get ice cream. Tell the same lame stories. Sit at parties and play with the dog instead of having to mingle. Internally always had something on the go, externally reserved unless we felt safe. Extroverted introverts at work. I think everyone calls us dorks. You aren’t here.

You went away.

When I say, “sometimes I forget my parents are dead,” I don’t really forget but when I say that I mean I wish you were here. I wish I could text you and wait nine minutes for you to text me back three words. When I say that I know that I’m needing something only you could give me. When I say that I’m lonely for you. When I say that I know I still hate it here without you. When I say that, I love you.

You went away.

I’m very privileged to have had you. I know so many who have had a terrible time in their families getting love and affection and attention. I know so many whose relationships are not happy ones and never had any joy. I know many who had a tough time. I know many who could never call as an adult and ask, “could you pick me up from here?” and have the pick-up happen. I know many who didn’t have someone to take them on trips. I know many who didn’t have someone come and collect their grandchild at any time on any day for any reason whatsoever, no questions asked. Privileged to be spoiled by an imperfect person trying their best at every turn.  I had you.

You went away.

I really didn’t know that it doesn’t get better. It just gets different. I really didn’t know I would change so much because of it. I really didn’t know that the change meant more change on top of change. I really didn’t know love doesn’t go away. I really didn’t know love was all there is. I really didn’t know love without a home can eat away at you as much as the disease that took you. I really didn’t know love didn’t always give you wings. I really didn’t know you didn’t take your love with you; you left it behind. I really didn’t know love is gift giving; every moment of every day, in every interaction. I really didn’t know anything about anything. I really didn’t know.

You went away.

I forget.

I don’t know where you went.

You aren’t here.

I love you.

I had you.

I really didn’t know that meant I was left behind.

To go on living.

I really didn’t know.

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