If there is one thing you never were, it was at a loss for words. You always had something to say. Your voice would fill up an empty room, your words would create a tether in the silence of before and after. Sometimes you talked so much my head would spin, and I’d laugh at your ability to keep up a conversation about everything and nothing.
I’ve tried to remember the last thing you ever said to me. It could have been goodbye, or maybe it was “love you, too,” because I remember saying, “I’ll see you later” and “I love you” when we were last together. The next time I was with you, you were at an intersection of this world and the subsequent one. You were there, on the other side, overjoyed by the reunions of loved ones gone before, reveling in the deep relief of finally shedding cancer, of beating it. And you were here, waiting for us to be ready to let you go, probably asking if you were ready to let us go, too. Asking if you’d done enough—enough living, enough loving, enough forgiving, enough of asking for forgiveness.
I knew you were ready because you were, for once, unable to speak, while I couldn’t stop talking to you, trying to get the words out before it was too late. Wishes, laments, reminders. Requests for more time. Regrets for anger.
But there were also the first words I said the moment I came to your bedside.
“I came to talk to you one more time.”
Although unconscious, you reached up and took my hand in yours.
I understand, Dad. It’s my turn for the words, and so this, this writing, is how I do it, how I grieve and heal and move on and live.
I know you’re listening.