I miss some things about being a dad. Even the hard things… the bad things. There was a time when I held Ethan and I told him in as firm a voice as I could muster, that it was going to be okay. He must have been about 10 or 11 years old. And I can’t remember what had him so upset, but I had his head in my hand and his face pressed against my shoulder… It is going to be okay. I meant it. And I thought I could make it happen. And for that moment, it was better.
Those memories are written down on scraps in my mind that blow like dry leaves. And I fear losing even one. Good ones. Bad ones. They are all I have. And if I seem distracted I may be chasing down one of these scraps. And sometimes they are hard to catch.
And I frequently think that at some point that if I could have held him one more time and told him that one more time, that I could make it okay. But that didn’t happen.
And it isn’t so much a regret as a smoldering match. A hope unanswered. A cold hard truth. Just a longing to hold my son one more time and I know it can’t happen. And chasing down scraps of memories is no substitute. What was real, what I could hold I can now only try to grasp as a memory. And that really doesn’t work so well.
And there is this thing, that I feel lost. Maybe a little at least all the time. Sometimes a lot. Everything isn’t going to be okay. It isn’t that it isn’t getting better. It is. But the permanence of this has not escaped me. Chasing memories. Grasping at leaves in the wind.
Like a scrap of paper set alight soon turns to ashes, and they blow away with the slightest breath.