11.14.2020 tw death and fathers

you know how, when your friend's cat dies, they probably don't want to hear about any pets for a while? or when your friend's bird flies away, they don't want to hear about the reality of it, and just hope that their bird is off doing well?

losing a parent is kind of like that. except you don't get to ignore people talk about their families, (what would you even say? sorry i don't want to hear about your family. i don't have one) and you don't get to pretend like your parent is somewhere better (i saw his body in the coffin and his body was so pale and unreal. and then we buried him).

and the strangest things will make you cry. for some people, the smell of cigarettes is awful, but for me, it's one of the only things i have left as a memory of my dad. fitting, isn't it? ephemeral smoke floating through the air, dissipated, yet incredibly pungent. like the way grief never leaves you, even when the thoughts do.

how do you grieve for someone who should've been in your life, but wasn't? and never will be again? and every little bit you have left eventually gets taken over by your own traitorous brain.

my dad smoked a lot, and when he died, we burnt paper offerings for him in a rusty red box, roughly the shape of a christmas popcorn bucket.

nowadays, i light up candles. i put strawberry jam on my hashbrowns on saturdays. i cry in the backseats of cars, i listen to the stories my friends tell me of their own families, and i try to hold them and tell myself like that family isn't all that good.

people with families argue. people with families hurt. isn't it strange to want that? love is watching someone die.