The Family Practice: on loss and grooves

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.

ScanI 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.

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