i don’t remember you then everything they say you were all the things they said you did
you could walk on your hands, my brother said. you taught him how to fish, to play basketball, to explore. you caught him with weed. you inspired him with the bars on your uniform. you taught him about being a man. you were big love for him.
but i was your firstborn. from you and her, the only one to emerge. and for a few short years, we were family.
i don’t remember them though. i see that family through pictures. i take their word for it.
i need to believe there was great love between you two. i don’t know why i am here. it was supposed to be just you and me.
and even during those years of trial, you and i walked together away from the rest. you were my best friend. how many girls get to say that about their father. i knew you like they never could, never would. i remember those drives, those walks, more than anything. “let’s just go for a walk,” you’d say. “okay.”
three years ago you suffered a hemhorragic stroke far away from me as you sat at your computer. they said you fell out of your chair and you called for my step mother. you were still awake when you checked into the hospital. but i knew nothing. three days later my grandmother called me. by that time, he was already in an induced coma. my mother and i drove to see you, puffed up and tubes coming out of your head. i kissed your cheek, your head. i was lost. a week later i rented a car and drove back with my dog and we spent your last three days together. you were out of the coma but in morphine consciousness. there was no conversation. you fluttered your eyelashes a bit and tried to open your eyes. but your eyes wouldn’t focus. that one moment you raised your hand off the bed and cried as i cried next to you, then i knew you were with me.
that night they moved you into a ‘family’ room. my dog was given an identification tag with your name on it and allowed to come into the room. i remember the day she’d met you, she was practically on top of you as you sat on my sofa. she knew exactly who you were. we heard your breath change – That Breathing – and i was out of my bed next to you in one fluid movement. she was on one side, i was on the other. i held your hand and laid my cheek and ear against your chest, listening to you breathe. you could hear the fluids filling up your lungs. the breaths kept taking longer to happen. just before you died you opened your eyes.
you brought me onto this earth. i held your hand as you left this earth.
three years and i am still ravaged by your death.