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“Gone. The saddest word in language. In any language.” Mark Slouka, God’s Fool

My father is gone.  Today, marks four years since that day when I witnessed the black hearse pull up to my childhood home. I watched as two men wheeled his body from my old room down the driveway into the vehicle. The door clanked shut.

Gone.

Three days ago, I almost picked up the phone, dialed my old phone number, and I wanted to say, the words, “Hey, Dad, how are you doing?” Instead, I paused. I sunk into this realization: The last conversation with my father occurred four years ago.

Gone.

At my sister’s wedding last year, at one particular moment, I remember sitting close to my mom, waiting for the newlywed couple to arrive. Tears started streaming in my insides because I did not want to upset my mom. My father, wanted so much to witness my sister’s new journey with her husband. In the last year before his passing, he often expressed that he would miss the joy of watching his youngest daughter marry. He said to me, “Rudri, make certain you take care of your sister. I worry about her.”

Gone.

Every time I hear my friends talk about their fathers and watch as my own daughter talks to her father, it hits me. I will forever talk about my father in the past tense.

Gone.

In random and unexpected moments, my daughter will tell me this, “Momma, I pray for Nana every night. I tell him I love him and miss him. And I ask God to help him feel better.”

Gone.

The out-of-nowhere seconds catch me in a tenuous space. When I hear the words cancer, intersect with a breathing machine, receive mail with my father’s name on it, and when my mother bursts into tears, I freeze. I don’t know what to do.

Gone.

I drove, two days after the cremation, to the funeral home. I picked up my father. His whole lifetime contained in a box.

Gone.

Four years, Dad. I love you. I miss you.

Gone.

 

 

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