Sharing life with the dead.

I miss my family every day. I imagine chance encounters where I get to show them life as I know it. Life as it happens now, after they've left. I show them around. Point out my kids. I say, there are your grandsons. Big, huh!?. Or.....We got away from the city.... moved upstate. Beautiful every day. This is my big dog. That's my little dog. And my two cats. They all get along! Finally got a good guitar. I'm doing alright. Really. I'm better now. Life is good.
I miss having them to call when I have a sore throat or if I'm depressed. To tell about a friend that died or who's having a baby or doesn't think they're gay any more or who moved to Bali.
There are the connections we had and the peculiar sweetnesses I still cling to. Things that distinguished our particular bonds.
My mothers voice is louder than the others. I see her smile when my sons' paintbrush bends on a piece of wood. Or when I laugh really hard.
I called every day. My mother especially, for her to know about good things if by chance any happened. And to share my overwhelm and to fret over cruel life. Again. She listened and had nothing helpful to say. But she cried along.
I don't even know if there was any value in calling to complain, or to brag, or to tell my mom or dad that I hurt my back or that I had a headache or that I still couldn't figure out how to do money. But somehow it made it easier to bare. For the time I spent in that exchange, i was important to them. That mother-son kind of important.
I've got shoulders to cry on. Quite a few. I'm rich that way. But there's still a hole which I don't even venture to fill.
Look, Mom.....our cats are cleaning the dog.
Look, Dad....your grandson is riding the unicycle you always talked about buying ME.
Look, Kim......eighty people showed up and they're listening.
Inside jokes and family quirks and catch phrases that only WE used.
I miss being small and held and carried both actually and allegorically....sometimes I lay in bed and imagine that I'm small and being held by my dad...that most unique experience of being weightless and loved and safe. My bed is my dad. The blankets, his arms. The scene....doesn't matter because anywhere we are is safe. At least tentatively.
I hold my children. I squeeze them hard and they squeeze back. I will continue picking them up and carrying them until it breaks my back.
Mostly I miss my family because they are references to memories that no one else alive cares about. Little conversations. Links in the chain. Only one link remains. No one to tell. No one to whom it would make sense. When there's no one there who knows the inside joke, the joke's on me.
Their absence seems to mean that there is less of me. Fewer clues to my mystery. More shadows.
I consider it training for getting older and closer to the end of my life. A not-so-crash-course in impermanence. And all I can do to stay OK is to move past it. To allow for things to be as they are, however shitty or wrong. And then there's room for sunshine. The black and white explodes into technicolor and I have another chance to pretend that it's all good. Because it's up to me, isn't it? It smolders or it glows. Whatever I say.
What sort of visit do I want ? To fall at the knees of my beloved so-and-so and beg, "WHY???!!!". Or to connect. To use that fleeting anomaly to give myself what no one else possibly can. They would if they could, I'm sure.
I've accepted sadness. I don't try to mask it and I don't need to succumb to despondency each time a dead family member visits. I can think it kind that they called. A gift. How nice of you to stop by,
And then I have permission--even tho it'll be sad--to share my life with the dead whom I'll always love.
So that I can see what it would be like to share...what will never be.
Look Dad...I'm wearing your gaudy wedding ring.
Look Kim....Brian Wilson tickets.
Look Mom...someone's reading my story.

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