Come On, Don't Leave Me Like This

March 25, 2012
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It’s the little moments I forget to tell. The moments that took a knife to my chest, just one of the many. And yet they fade away into the shadows of the gravestone. But every now and then when I dust the cobwebs they come out, and it burns all over again. So let me turn a small light on in a dark room.

It was Christmas Night. This day can also be known as the Day my Father Died. and the few that heard early, the ones that were fortune enough to be on the phone tag line, were stopping by or calling in their condolences. The pain came in waves. One moment you’re fine, and it’s just a sullen Christmas for a reason you can’t remember and then suddenly it washes over you and you cry and cry and cry and you can’t imagine ever feeling okay. During a numb spell, the doorbelll anounces the rising of another wave. In comes in a woman, who is unimportant, as all those who grieve are the same, only to be categorized in “I’m sorry for your loss”, “I’m here for you” or an original speech. She came bearing young children, believes, innocents. I put on a smile for them. It killed, it felt wrong, but I wouldn’t let it falter, I would not ruin these children’s Christmas by crying in front of them.

I assist them in playing fetch with the dog. In between passing the squeaky ball to the boy the girl crawls over to the stockings. “Which one is your’s?” “That one”. Toss, thump, thump, thump, slide, squeak, drop. “Who’s is that?” “My mommy’s”. Toss, thump, thump, thump, slide, squeak, drop. “Who’s is that?” “Murphy’s.” Toss, thump, thump, thump, slide, squeak, drop. “Who’s is that?” “Tracey’s”. Toss, thump, thump, thump, slide, squeak, drop. I knew it was coming and yet I still wasn’t prepared. “Who’s is that?” “My daddy’s.” I thought that would be all. I thought I had gotten through it, for my voice hadn’t left me and I answered the question with such nonchalance it felt like a victory.

“Where is your daddy?”. Tears. They just spring up like that. At that moment I didn’t miss him. I wasn’t thinking about all the things he’d never see me do. I didn’t think that all I had left of him, was pictures, clothes and countless hate letters to him. I thought of their wide eyes. I thought of the fact that the boy stopped playing and was interested in this answer. I thought of them years later. I saw my blue eyes. I saw myself years ago, exhausted at nine o’clock because of the rush of Santa coming, the effort it takes to spend enough time on each new toy. Who ever would have thought this would come? I had to be strong. I couldn’t let them down. “He’s not home right now”.

“Where is he?”. Relentless. I forgot the power of the innocent child. I avoided their eyes and when I looked at them it wasn’t a trick. They didn’t want to hear the words “dead” or to put it gentley “he’s in heaven” they just wanted to know where my dad was this fine Christmas evening. And yet it took so much of me to give them an answer. Lying was never something I struggled with. But it took the last of my strength to smile and say “You know, I’m really not sure”. From there I abandoned them, for I knew if I stayed any longer, I would ruin their Christmas. Being strong once is not enough. When your strength is tested, it is repeatedly done, over and over again. I thought that waking up at 3 AM on Christmas morning waiting for a call to say that my father is dead was hard enough. I thought I was done, if not for a while but at least for the day. But there they came that evening, with wide eyes, and it took all my stength not to fill those wide eyes with tears.

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