June 20, 2010

She Was

things i rush to write with a hammering heart

When my father died, he didn’t get sick, or fall ill, or anything like that, he just died. He was and then he wasn’t. Just like that, snap. There was no goodbye and no last words. No letter or advice, or I will love you when I go. I don’t think about this often. About what he might have said. Actually, I never think about what he might have said, had he been given the chance. I know what I said. I can remember each word, counting each breath until the last. I held his hand and I whispered to him and the nurse stood next to me and told me he could hear me, that she believed that a brain flooded with blood, deprived of oxygen, dead, that some small part, would know, could feel, could make it through and be present. I didn’t believe her. I’d asked the doctor earlier, as I’d watched tears seep out of my father’s taped up eyes, was he crying, and he shook his head, no. He asked me if I wanted him to explain and I silently nodded my head yes. I wanted to understand this, what was happening to his body. He sat next to me and explained that he was gone, that he was and then he wasn’t. I touched the tears on my father’s cheeks and held my fingers out to him. He curled my fingers back into the palm of my hand and explained synapses and brain death and involuntary responses. And I nodded yes, I understand. And it was comforting, that he wasn’t. I thought, if he knew, he wouldn’t be able to leave, leaving would be unbearable. I knew that. So when the nurse told me that he was, that some part, some tiny, bigger than dead part still was, I wanted to tell her no. But because I couldn’t be sure, but because even back then I understood that a nurse knows death better than a doctor, I rested my head on his steady beating chest and whispered to him, that he had to find a way to leave, that I wanted him to go, that he could, that I let him. And I held his spasming hand for another two or three minutes and then he stopped being. And that’s how that happened. It was a very long time ago. I was a little girl and now I’m not. And I don’t think about it anymore. I think of other things. Of books he read me and poetry he wrote. That’s what I think about. Until I read something like The Road. And then I think, what would he have said if he could have, if he’d known, if we’d been allowed that conversation, if it hadn’t just been me doing all the talking, telling him to go. Would he have told me about love, forever? That I could always talk to him, that he’d always be there to listen? That he’d keep loving me, that I’d be loved, that I wouldn’t be fatherless. And I wonder, if he’d told me about love, forever, his love forever, would I have believed him? Would I still, today, flip the coin looking for the tarnish, the blindside, the ending lurking around the corner? I miss(ed) my dad and it was a loss.


She Was going to tell us who she was, but decided she wouldn't.

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