Dearest Abby,

Dear Bug,

People keep telling me that it is time to let go, to find a way to move on. But they forget that with everything else swirling around me I want to hold on to a portion of the past, even a painful one. That positive thing they are wanting me to search out has always been you. The room might be empty and silent, but there are times when I need you to be sitting in the chair next to me.

I wish it was different, but life rarely follows the path we choose for it. All the careful planning, avoiding the holes in the ground that can swallow us up; life moves them in front of us at times. The plan hadn’t been for me to get sick, or for your mother to leave, or for you to die. The plan had been Sundays sitting on the couch watching a movie, you between us until the time came when you sat a little further down the couch and eventually just went out with your friends instead. Growing up and growing old!

For those times when I think you’re in the chair next to me, I know what you hear and see is confusing. People with all sorts of odd titles coming and going. Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists, Hospice Advocates; lots of very nice people who want to do the best they can while I’m trying to do the same.

They worry because I was almost disappointed that I woke up from the last round of poking through my head. We always talk about feeling with the heart, but it’s our brain doing the heavy lifting. You may be half of me, but when I think about it you are everything I had to offer and pass forward. A miracle combination that still lives in my heart.

I wanted you to know that I’m tired and don’t know how much more I can put myself through. The fight you used to see has gone and I’m exhausted. That makes me sad to admit, maybe a little ashamed that you’re the one I’m admitting it to. No child should feel the weight of their parent’s problems, not when they are young. The whispers behind closed doors are one thing, but to be confronted by them, that must scare you. It scares me.

It brings forward that entire feeling bad, depressed world that you should be protected from. Even if it is your spirit in the chair and not really you. So where does that leave us? You knowing it all while watching over me? People told me there was a “plan” for you, but is there one for me and could you give me a hint?

Scary things like monsters under the bed or teenage boys picking you up, eventually. Those were supposed to be the nightmares, not this. Not after all that has gone before. And right now I need you to do me a favor. Just sit in that chair and smile for me, giggle a little at my stupid jokes, just be who you were always meant to be? That one thing I always needed from you and another, walk through the door and give me a hug?

The weight of this is crushing me. Just let me know you’re there…

Love you always and forever,

Dad

We all handle stress in different ways, I tend to write letters to someone hoping to gain some insight into my own journey while dealing with the ending of hers. If my daughter were around, I’d have to be explaining all of this anyway, my brain still tried to keep her memory alive and that means at times having to treat her like she’s still in the room. Healthy, I don’t know. Sanity is a relative term and in this case those conversations help me process my world as it is, at times ugly with flashes of beauty that I try to recognize.

This journey is more difficult than I expected. Still feeling so protective of people that I don’t let them in anymore. My wall has been carefully constructed, each layer placed carefully. This is where I feel less human than before. I guess I still have some work to do.

Lary

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.”

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