The Day After

Mom called me last night at 9:48 to tell me that Dad died. I couldn’t get to sleep anyway, and after she called it felt like I already knew. But the truth is that I didn’t know. There were so many things I didn’t know. 

I didn’t know that at the very end he’d be in so much pain. I didn’t know his voice would fade into a soft near-nothing. I didn’t know he would die so quickly, but I’m grateful that his pain didn’t stretch out and last any longer than it did. I also didn’t know what to say to Mom when I called her and heard the realization and grief in her voice. I said stupid things and then stayed silent because I wanted to stop myself before anymore foolishness fumbled out of my throat. But here is what I wanted to say:

I cannot yet know what you’re going through, but I know how much you loved each other and I loved him too. This thing that is happening is painful and lonely, and I’m sure it won’t always (or even often) feel like it, but I am here with you. I will remember him with you, not as a husband or father without fault, but as the person we love who loved us in return. 

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