Words dried up when my father died. In the new year I’m finding new words, but this paragraph I wrote in June was like a lump in my throat, demanding to come first:
When I was sitting by his hospital bed today, and I rubbed my gloved thumb up and down the center of his forehead for a spell more than an hour, my mind never wandered far from the task at hand. It is only tonight, nearing 2am, still no way to wind down to sleep that I remember what it felt like to be a child and yell furiously at my father, holding nothing back in the outraged certainty that he wouldn’t listen. Now it feels like there’s a thread tying these behaviors, that my capacity to hold steady, my will to endure and connect with him is a groove he and I wore into each other over years of tenacious practice. If he shaped me more than I tried to shape him, time has more than done my work for me.
I drew this later, when he was in the hospital again in August, but he died at home with no tubes or beeps, only love, on October 6th.