The weight of the load upon my back and shoulders alternates from feeling like all of the earth, moon and Jupiter combined to something far more comfortable.
Dad’s voice and face are ever present even if they are not part of the temporal boundaries of the ground I walk upon.
Yesterday marked five months or 21,900 minutes since he drew in his last breath and left us to chart our own courses without his daily guidance.
I am the only son and as such received words and a charge from him given to no other. I did so willing and gladly even if one can argue I was trained for such a moment.
Soon I will return to Los Angeles to spend time with family and when I do the echoes of my father’s voice and presence will join me as silent companions in the places we go.
It doesn’t feel real to me, this knowledge that he won’t be home to greet me and that I will go through some of his things without him.
There won’t be any “Do you think you want this, I don’t need/use it anymore.”
No comments from him saying not to waste money on more tools at Home Depot. “Josh, you know I have it. Come and get it, but make sure you bring it back. They’ll all be yours one day.”
One day came too soon.
Sometimes you sail through space with music that moves you and sets a tone that you can’t ignore.
And so it is for me, acknowledging that I live, love and grieve hard. There is an intensity that is off putting to some people because it is too much for them.
And then there are those who allow the waves to pass over and through them instinctively knowing that doing so is safe. Can’t explain the who, what or why of it, can only nod our heads in acceptance of such things.
Why is this so with some and not with other?
I make like Socrates and admit I know nothing except to follow my instinct and gut understanding some times it will lead me astray and sometimes it will lead me to exactly where I need to be,
And if it doesn’t lead me there, well then I shall draw circles around wherever I land making it appear that I have nailed a perfect Bullseye.
There was a moment with dad in the final days in which he could actively communicate with us in which he tried to help me.
A moment when the weight upon me had shifted and I felt it forcing me to my knees. I think about it often because during a moment when I should have been doing all I could to keep the gate from smashing down upon him he turned to help me.
I am haunted by it, forever grateful but haunted nonetheless because for that instant I could feel what was required of him to help me.
But he did.
I don’t remember if it was that day or the next when a hospice nurse asked me if I recognized how strong my father was.
“It doesn’t normally go like this. Everyone is different, but man, your father is strong.”
I nodded my head yes and made my way to the bedside where I promised dad it was ok to let go because I would do all I could to meet the obligations I had accepted from him.
I listened to a story today and tried not to squirm in my seat.
It had my complete interest and attention but a prostate no longer 25 years of age refuses to work with the same efficiency as it once did.
The days of drinking 44 ounces of fluid and waiting hours upon hours before needing relief are behind me, perhaps never to return.
My suitcase bears witness as well. There are items placed in it that may have reached optimal comfort but also look their age.
So as I prepare for the journey and plan out where I want to visit besides where I must I wonder about what lies ahead.
Will the green hills I envision still bear the marks of the forest fires and will other places once important still stand or will I discover that time and life has forced changes upon them.
Perhaps I have reached the halfway point of life and stand upon the precipice from which somethings go down in a fashion we’d rather they didn’t.
In the end I hope to be more like the man reading Shelley than his main character.
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”