Every year at this time, I hear drums in my mind. They start distant, but as I draw nearer to the day that changed everything, they get louder.
Not war drums or a funky drum beat.
The kind of drum beat they play during execution scenes in the movies.
July always feels like a slow march to the noose.
It’s been almost seven years now. Seven years since the man who held me together fell to the floor and breathed his last.
I have written about this more than anything else, by far. But I can’t help rehashing it in my mind over and over. If I had been home, would it have been different? If he hadn’t put off going to the doctor for so long, would things have played out the same way?
The pointless, circular questions float in and out of my mind for days on end. Sleep eludes me more and more. My soul feels like it is holding its breath, awaiting some impact or collision. The tension builds for two straight weeks. July is a stressful sonuvabitch.
I know my sister’s feel the same. We never talk about this feeling. We just see it in each other, and nod sadly. It is a shared loneliness, like being in prison cells next to one another; close enough to know our shared fate, but still somehow apart.
Seven years. It still aches. I still feel lost. I still wish I could sleep through and wake up on the 17th.
Sure, we’ve healed. We are functional people. It’s not the debilitating injury it once was. Now it’s more of a deep scar that makes itself known when the weather changes.
Still gotta carry it around though. Still gotta live with it. It’s worse some days than others. Most days we’re fine. Now and then, though…jeez, it can really put you out of commission.
And the worst part…
He’s not here to teach us how to live with it. We had to find that road in the dark on our own.
I’d say we’re better, stronger people for it, but damn.
Sometimes, most times, all the time, I’d rather be weaker and still have my dad. Screw progress and personal growth. I’ll take my father back eleven times out of ten.