What Could Have Been

I woke this morning thinking about my father. I remembered the two of us together, how our lives were once joined. Now we are separate, as "I" and "him"-- no longer "we."

I remembered his physical presence in the house and in my life. I remembered him laying on the couch in the living room; that's where he often napped and watched television.

 I remembered how he hugged and kissed me before he went to bed each night. I remembered the two of us talking. Small things, small memories that matter only to me but that were constant, dependable, real things in my life.

Memory gave way to speculation about the future he never had. He died in 2006. I tried to transplant him to the world of 2014. Would he be on facebook and twitter? What would he post? Would he use spotify or stay faithful to his CDs and vinyl records? I don't know. I will never know. This not-knowing is painful.

When a person dies, you lose them as they were but you also lose them as they might have been. I mourn that. I grieve the loss of the self he might have become, how he would have evolved and transformed.

 I also mourn the fact that he will never know me as I am and that I have been deprived of him for eight years--deprived of his love and how it could have enriched my life. Who would I be today if he had not died?

With his death, I lost him, I lost my past, my childhood, and I lost my future.

I'm shattered. I won't apologize for it. I won't be ashamed to wake up thinking about him. I deserve to grieve and his life deserves to be grieved.

Grief is the gift I give; it's how I say that I love him, I miss him, I remember him.