When I Am Gone

The ghosts of the past came to visit yesterday and some have refused to leave.

When I opened my eyes this morning and found them staring at me as if they had been waiting for me to rise I thought about grabbing the single malt from the cabinet.

It isn’t a good look, a 50 year-old man dressed in a pair of a sweats and a t-shirt, bushy beard and bottle in hand.

But I considered it.

Wondered if climbing into the bottle would place me upon the same plane as the ghosts so that we might do battle in a way in which they would be tangible.

Instead I glared at them and then went silent, refusing to acknowledge their presence but I heard them whisper and wail all day long.

That’s what happens when you tear through boxes that contain remnants and reminders of failures that are not solely your account but cannot be crossed off as bearing no responsibility.

So I took the Ibuprofen early and often, in doses designed to take the edge off of the screaming of parts and pieces that believe they were abused.

Give Me A Hand

Called out to my son to have him give me a hand doing couple of things around the house and laughed when he told me my minute is never that.

“Blame your grandpa, I get it from him and then grab this. You are the only one here besides me who doesn’t need a step stool to do this.”

He doesn’t understand how soothing some of these projects are for me or recognize the teaching moments.

Or if he does he hasn’t mentioned it to me and that is ok. It is unclear how much time we have like this and it helps assuage some of the guilt about past moments.

He has a softer touch than I do and doesn’t have to focus on being gentle with some things the way I do.

Sometimes I bark at him and he barks back and I smile because I hear the echoes of me and his grandfather.

“You’ll miss this when I am gone.”

“You’re old but you are not going anywhere yet.”


Inside the garage stacks of boxes block my approach but I haven’t time nor patience to move them all by hand.

I put my back against them and push with my legs and hear my dad tell me to go slow because they aren’t strapped and they might all fall.

“You can criticize my approach when you show up to help me. Since you are not here to do so nor to offer advice that I would ask for I’ll do this my way.”

The silence is as deafening as ever and though I am certain of what he would say it would be nice to hear it.

There are too many hours between now and Monday and I am impatient to hear news or at least gather more details about some opportunity.


I watch him work and try not to let him see me stare because I don’t want him to be self conscious nor to stop doing what he is doing.

There are other tasks to be handled this evening, but it is impossible not to recognize he has my hands and those of his grandfather.

They are a hair smaller, but our hands nonetheless and his approach here is his own but for a moment it reminds me of dad.

Can’t decide if it is because of hope or truth.

What Future Are We Heading Towards?

Around a decade ago or maybe a dozen if not less than seven dad told me how hard it is to predict the future.

He said try as we might it is hard to predict what will happen more than a couple of years out and that going five or further was a challenge.

It surprised me because I saw him as a planner and because had always pushed me to do what I could to prepare for the future.

But the longer we spoke and the more he said the easier it became for me to see the contradictions of what he had tried to teach and the words he shared then.

And so I sit here 1,400 miles and change from the location of that conversation living a very different life than I once did.

I used to know exactly where I would I be, if not the house, the city and state.

Now I expect to be here in Texas for a minimum of the years it takes for my daughter to graduate from high school and perhaps decades longer.

But if you told me that five years from now I’ll be elsewhere I might say you are correct or say it is too soon to say,.

Hell, you could say many things and I would nod and smile. If you said I would live elsewhere by myself or in any number of situations I would nod and smile.

Because you don’t know.

I know things and I have ideas about things but what I know and suspect may prove to be correct or very wrong.

Had a conversation not so long ago and said when I am gone it will be obvious how some things came to be.

I am not afraid t0 take chances and cut ties nor am I quick to do so.

But if you give me the scissors and dare me to use them know that I might.

They asked if it was a threat or a promise and I said it is neither. It is a comment and it can be taken however they wish to take it.

I am more who I used to be than ever before and not quite yet who I am going to be, but I am getting closer every day.

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  1. Lori November 11, 2019 at 4:08 am

    “I am more who I used to be than ever before and not quite yet who I am going to be, but I am getting closer every day.” I love this, Josh!

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