How can it be that a month has already passed? I sent a text to Melody this morning and thought back to the call I made to her one month ago tonight. We were floundering together in the first moments of grief, focused on how surreal it all seemed, how it couldn’t possibly be happening like this. We laughed in moments, short bursts of ha-has followed by guilt at laughing on such a terrible occasion. But you would have been okay with it, even proud of the way we were employing the coping mechanism you taught us by example. Laugh in the face of what terrifies you, what pains you, what makes you weep.
I feel robbed, Papa. Robbed of at least 20 more years, maybe even 30 years, of laughter, family dinners, game nights, good-natured arguments, moments of clarity and connection, love and support, shared with you. The pain of you no longer being in this world is nothing when measured against the pain of knowing you are never coming back. It sucks nearly every bit of air from my lungs and squeezes my heart so excruciatingly tears stream from my eyes. My grief wrung out of me.
I dreamt of you three nights ago. The first dream of you since you left. In it, I was doing some shopping amidst the haze of loss, numb over your death, when I heard your voice drifting in from a back room in the store. I hoped against hope that it was you I heard as I searched the store to find you. And there you were. You laughed at what a good joke you played on us and told me you had to hide away for awhile to make sure the punchline–your reappearance–wouldn’t fall flat. We sat and played cards with the friends you’d made while you were sequestered. Then I woke up.
My dream was just a dream. The sunlight streaming through my windows became the bright light of reality. The box of your remains, wrapped in one of your shirts, sat heavily on my dresser as proof that you truly are gone. Your voice is confined to videos and memories and dreams. And today my heart rests in my throat, making it hard to laugh. So I weep.