As the man hands me my change,
I notice that his hands look like your hands,
Before the hospital,
When we were able to hold them,
And you were able to hold us.
And as I collect two quarters and three pennies,
My stomach clenches
And I don’t think I’ll be able to eat the food I just bought
Because his hands look like yours.
And as I drive forward,
I remember that I’m driving into a life sentence of
Constant rememberings, all of them full of you,
And your absence,
And my anger,
And my grief.
And I think, for the thousandth time,
That I can’t wait to talk to you about all of this.
I can’t wait to tell you that I saw hands that looked like yours
And that they made me sad
And I can’t wait for you to tell me
How to live with this
Because you always did have the best answers,
Even if some of them were made up.
I want to ask you how I’m supposed to answer the question,
“How are you?” because my honesty is now laced with leaden heartache.
Does it make me disingenuous to say I’m okay or is the silent caveat I attach in my head enough to make my answer real?
And I can’t wait to hear
What you think about the way I listen to your voicemails and the way my face crumples and becomes a funhouse mirror.
Does it make you feel loved that I miss your voice this much,
Or does it make you sad to see me so broken?
What would you say to me if you saw me curled up on the floor with my phone and your voice and my tears?
Would you tell a joke to make me laugh?
Or would you hold me and agree that
Death is bullshit?
I know you’d hate the way people tell me it happened for a reason,
Because we both know that’s a cheap way for others to feel comfortable with a loss that has made me irrevocably unokay.
If you were here, we’d talk about the things people say because they’re afraid of grief and we’d talk about how they shove their sorrow in a closet with their doubts and their vulnerability and we’d talk about all this
Over bowls of ice cream on Sunday night.
And as we’d clear the dishes you’d say something like,
“But we’re all just people trying to figure things out,”
Because you look for the good in everyone,
Even the people who tell me your sudden death was for a reason.
You’d find some love even for them,
Because you’re so good at loving and living and being human,
Which is why this all makes me so angry.
Dad, how am I supposed to live,
When the hands handing me change
Look like your handsBut aren’t.