My father is no longer simply my father. Over the years, he's come to represent a variety of things in my life. He is the unknown, he is death, he is the shadow haunting my consciousness, the embodiment of everything I love and fear. He is the void we all come from and to which we all return. He is my first love, my first devastation, my loss of innocence. He is my death. He is silence and nothingness. He is a myth, a memory, a bundle of atoms that will return to the cosmos.
I think of him now more than I ever have before. Often, he is even a distraction. I focus on him when I cannot deal with the present and all its worries, frustrations, and pressures. The grief is familiar and yet still intense, it takes me away, I am lost in it. It's the only thing I know. I don't know where he is or why death exists but I know this loss. I'll never be free of it. It's like my skin and you can't remove your skin.
I don't know if I can call this a life anymore. It feels like suspended animation. I can't go back, but I can't go forward. I can't move. I keep waiting for something to happen. I keep waking up, pushing the fear aside, surviving, but no matter what I do I cannot truly participate in the world around me or find the energy to make any substantial contribution. I'm here, but I'm not really alive.