It’s funny how you can go on. How you can live your life and almost forget that your parents are dead. Like, seriously, you can just go about your day and everything seems fine and you’re writing an article about cyberpunk, virtual reality, and web development (don’t ask) and then it just hits you—the image of your dad sitting on the couch as you told him about this new article you’re writing. And how he’d probably think it interesting.
But more importantly, you remember that Stephen King was just awarded the National Medal of Arts and part of you jumps up, reaches for the phone inside your mind, makes a note to tell him, to let him know. “Hey did you hear that..” Because he was the one that introduced you to Stephen King’s books when you were a kid and let you read them from way too young of an age. He’s the one that collected all the hard covers and said, “one day they’ll be yours,” and you knew that but never wanted to admit that. Because he was the one that couldn’t wait for you to finish reading Bag of Bones so he could talk about it with you when you were seventeen.
And then another image hits you. Dad isn’t sitting on the couch with a familiar smile on his face. Instead, he’s on his knees in the hallway, unable to get up, face ashen, body swollen, shoulder blades protruding. Of your dad in the convalescent home, looking at you with downturned eyes. You hear his voice say again (just as you replayed it a million times over last February) “I’m feeling sad.” “The doctor’s are being very optimistic,” and worst of all you hear him break down and tell you, “I’m forgetting.”
All over again. It’s back, just like that. And you don’t cry, even though you probably should. Your mind closes the book on the image of his still face in the casket and you sigh. Your shoulders slump. Right. This is what it’s like to be 31 with no parents. This is what it’s like to remember the ties to your childhood are gone. And every last little memory you can find that had light (even though so many had darkness), are now a little dimmer. Because they’re gone. You miss your mom, too, but oh how you miss your dad so. much. more.
This is what it’s like to want to call your dad and tell him something, anything, no matter how trivial, and remember for the one hundred thousandth time that he’s not there to pick up the phone anymore. That the phone number doesn’t even exist.
This is what it’s like to keep on keepin’ on. This is what it’s like to survive.