It isn’t easy. Facing the long days, like grey flagstone paths to nowhere. No concern for weather, or time, or getting on with things.
A pandemic has come on the heels of your leaving. I do not care. Yes, I do the things. The hand washing, cleaning, and isolating that are prescribed. You taught me to do what’s best.
I have waded through your paperwork, and paid what needs paying. Have ordered things so they can be found. Have spoken to all your people, those that loved you and love you still. Shared tears, and laughter, and longing.
I see you everywhere. In my feet and in my face, in the store and street. The bending of this magnificent tree that allows the wind to have its way. The stones I scan on the beach for your collection. In the Great Lake with its breakwater that gives and takes. In the sky that meets it on the horizon and draws the songs of seabirds.
I feel nothing so vividly as your absence. In your empty chair at the table, the silent bowl and spoon. Your lifeless pen and quiet paper. The face of your cherished bride. In my collected thoughts, now rushing, now languid.
And then, there are your words, scribbled on scraps of coloured paper. Lists and laments, loving concerns. Plans, so many plans. Your dreams in ink. Each an artifact, and what to save?
Shall I wear your nightclothes to bed? Your sweater all day? Will I ever wash the coat you wore to celebrate? Which pictures shall I share and frame? You invade and remain in each corner, Miraculous father and friend. Lover of life.
And, in those last moments in our arms Your shoulder blades pressing, the heart beating above them until its last. And You, Rising To fly North, certainly. To the pines and the rocks And the sweet clean water of the inland lakes Lapping and clacking. Lulling you into dreams after The toils of the long, well-spent day.