My father died on December 21st two years ago.
Since that time the unbelievable happened: we continued to live. It’s not hard to recall the intense pain and loss we experienced—experience. At the time it seemed inconceivable that life could continue when he was no longer with us. How is it that we are here and he is not? The power of that thought was overwhelming and guilt-inducing.
But, life does go on. Millennia of loss with life going on. That joining in with generations of mourners was what made me understand that I, too, can go on.
I still have the seven-day Yahrzeit candle that was lit when we sat shiva for him. I still have a voice mail message from him—from two months before his death, days before he found out that he was dying of esophageal cancer. And I still have an intense feeling of missing an important component in my life. That’s what comes, I guess, from his having been such a kind, loving man—to his family and everyone he knew. A quiet redhead.
Maybe this sense of him that does not leave me nor can it leave me is the stuff of which ghosts are created. An image of the person—physical and internal—who passed, who was loved and whose loss is always present.
My mother said that he spoke to her in their bedroom after he died.
Death. A part of life. It would be nice if it weren’t so. Thank goodness for internal flashbacks and the recollection of images and words and gestures and even sense of person from days of fullness. Thank goodness, indeed, for my father having been my father.