“…And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places…”
Running up that hill, 1985
I fell asleep yesterday.
In the middle of the day. At my desk. Like a lazy lump of flesh. I was reading a mail, and I sort of slid sideways and blinked twice, very slowly, and I was off in lala-Land!
Snoring like a buzzsaw and drooling onto my shirt. You cannot imagine my mortification when my boss walked in and caught me fast asleep!
I can almost see you laughing at this tale of my shameful work ethic.
I’ve been praying a lot more than I used to since you left. You taught me that. In those last few months- when it seemed I could almost hear your insides running down like an ancient clock, when the drugs weren’t enough to bind you to this world, when just turning onto your side gave you such pain and I asked God to take away your pain and give it to me- you taught me to pray again.
And so I do it every day now. As much as possible. And I choose to believe that you are still here, I just can’t see you. Why? Because that’s the kind of mischievous prankster you were, always hiding in plain sight to frighten the wits out of my hyperactive toddler brain!
I met a nice young man the other day. Just so you know. I know you worry about me constantly, what with my singleness and my weird habits (ahem, I still maintain that brushing both sides of my mouth an equal number of times is not a weird habit!). Anyway, I met this young man, and I think you would have liked him, had you met him yourself. He is funny, sarcastic, does the crossword puzzle with me ( a first!), and said you were very handsome, so in my honest opinion, he is wonderful!
I miss you. A lot. It doesn’t get better, this missing business, but I comfort myself with the thought that maybe you miss me too, wherever you are.
Remember when you taught me Maths because I was having that bad phase in school? When if I so much as looked at a Mathematics textbook, I would start weeping? And that made you so angry! i still use your words to encourage my students,
“It’s nothing more than four symbols! Add, Subtract, Divide and Multiply! You are better and bigger than all of them!”
I am finally beginning to understand that you are gone for good. I asked God to take away your pain, but I don’t think He could have without taking you, because the time was right. You saw us all, blessed us all, made your peace with us all. And I will forever be thankful for that.
I wrote a short story the other day you would have liked. It was about you, and that time when you and your friends…you know what? never mind. I’ll tell you all about it when I see you in my dreams tonight.
I love you, and I miss you, Dad.