Sunday, June 12, 2016

"What Should've Been..."


June 12, 2016

You should've been there today... but you weren't.

You should've been there... recording a video of your daughter opening her birthday presents and blowing out the candles... calling out her name... calling out "Liliana", to try to get her to look towards the camera.

More than once I thought I heard you...

More than once I turned around expecting to see you standing there...

... but I could only see you in my mind. You were wearing shorts and a red t-shirt with an American flag on the front. You had a bracelet on - something with a lot of beads on it. You were wearing this watch.

But you couldn't have been, could you? Because it was on my wrist today, instead of yours.

We were supposed to be standing next to one another - you, Kenny and me. We were supposed to be making fun of how fat we've each gotten - comparing each other's spare tires as we pushed them out to make them as large as possible.

We were supposed to mumble wise-ass remarks to each other about... well... I can't really say what/who they would've been about without getting myself into trouble.

We would've talked about how things were going for you at the shop.

You would've asked me how I was feeling... and I would've lied and said that everything was good and I was feeling great.

You would've asked me if I was going to church... and I would've lied and said that I was, because I would've been too ashamed of having lapsed - and wouldn't want to disappoint you.

At some point we would've ended up talking about figs as we stood staring at one of the trees. We'd talk a bit about how the figs used to be at Grandma and Grandpa's house... and then somehow the conversation would've switched to "shit" and "death" - just like it always does... I mean, just like it always "did"... I mean, just like it "should".

All of that should've happened today... but it didn't.

Instead we pretended that things were OK... when they're really not.

We made it look as if we were happy... when we're really still hurting.

We did our best to make Liliana's special day, well, "special"... and yet I couldn't help but look at her with an extreme pain in my heart, knowing that at some point the day will come when she no longer remembers your face... your voice... your laugh... your hugs... you...

... and I fear that day... because it is like losing you all over again.

Why weren't you there today, dammit!?!

Why did things have to be this way!?!

Why was it you!?!

(why wasn't it me?)

And now, because things have happened the way they have happened, today's conversations were different from what they would've been.

There were no fat jokes... and no mumbled remarks.

The shop has been closed for over a year... and still sits empty.

Most days I feel like I want to curl up in the corner and cry... and my Parkinson's symptoms are getting worse.

I am going to church VERY regularly... in fact, I'm there multiple times a week now and am about to become a lector.

Two of the fig trees are gone... and the third seems to be struggling without you.

"Shit" is still a topic of conversation around the table... but "death", well... not so much.

Your wife has discovered that she is 1,000 times stronger than she thought she was... she just doesn't really accept that fact yet.

Your two older daughters have become beautiful young women... and I think this past year has forced them to change in ways you probably wouldn't have ever thought possible.

And then there's Liliana... a beautiful and radiant blessing who has brought smiles where we thought there could never be smiles again.

Toward the end of the day she and I were in the front yard happily picking clover flowers and making little bouquets. She stopped for a moment and looked up toward the sky with the biggest smile on her face... and somehow I knew that she was looking at you.

You should've been there today...

... and you were.

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