Last time I was at your grave, I said, “Almost a year,” and I stood there silently to reflect on the words I shared at your headstone. I’ve been trying to figure out what does that mean. I made it a year without Dempsy Porter texting me what show or movie he is watching for the 100th time. I guess I can reflect on how I started to live a life without you and it’s going ok so far, but it would be so much better if you were still here. I started going to therapy, February 2018, months after you told me you had Stage IV Liver Cancer. A year later, two days before my Therapy Anniversary, you were gone.
The Therapy Anniversary was a celebration because my mental health is great now. A year without you and I’m still in a space I’m not familiar with but I’m starting to recognize as my reality. This anniversary is not celebratory at all, but it’s worth acknowledging. I’m still standing and your family is fine. I remember the first time I saw Black Panther and the scene where T’Challa is reunited with his Father had me in tears. Black Panther tells the former King of Wakanda that he is not ready to be without him and T’Chaka replies “A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed as a Father.” So when I took you and Mom to see it three weeks later, I started to look over at you or nudge you when that scene played just to acknowledge that that was a moment that hit me in the heart, but I let you enjoy the movie.
2020, here we are now where I speak to you and I don’t hear your voice reply back. You asked me years ago that if you had a chance to say goodbye to a loved one before they passed would I be able to let them go forever. I said no and here I am still trying to figure out how to let go of you. I think I’m supposed to accept you no lonher here, but never forget. My therapist said that the first year was going to be the hardest because there were alot of of times when we did things as a family for the first time without you with us. I’m learning that mentioning you is not always going to bring down the energy because you only left us with good moments. You are still here in spirit; I’ll just have to watch out for signs.
A mail truck followed me as I made it halfway home from the cemetery that day. I was in your car and behind me was a mail truck with their hazards light following me on a Sunday. I thought maybe it was one of your coworkers trying to flag me down. There has to be a reason why this mail truck is behind me on a Sunday after visiting you in the cemetery. I made it to the red light and I looked over at the mail truck. In the driver seat was a woman eating Cheeto’s minding her business, never once looked over at me in the other lane. The light turned green and she continued going straight as I made my left and all I could do was laugh. You’re still a funny man, Dad and you are still with me everyday.