I don't feel the pain of the loss so much these days. Or at least I don't feel it so sharply, so intensely, so unbearably crippling in its fury.
But every once in a while I feel it creep up on me.
No. Not really a creep. More of a wrench.
As life drifts more and more into 'normal' without him here, I almost forget the pain of losing him. I'm accustomed to the absence.
Until I remember it. The Pain.
It strikes at the most inopportune times. Almost jokingly. Like we're playing a game, Pain and Me, like we're dancing an endless tango, the musical dance born from slaves. Am I addicted to this dance, a slave to this remembering, to this remembering that brings me both immense joy and such intense pain?
I'm ashamed to say I sometimes go days without remembering. I don't forget, but I don't remember. I don't conjure up his face, his voice, his words, his laughter, his wisdom. I carry on. I carry on very well. And I don't remember.
But sometimes I carry on too well. Exceedingly well. Sometimes my potential surpasses my expectations.
And that's when Pain invites me to dance. I never refuse. The thought of no dance at all, of ''the absence'', is far more painful than the intensity of remembering.
We start off slowly, Pain and me, and then the tempo increases slightly; Pain entices me, evokes, provokes. And suddenly the head snaps, the heart propels forward, the rest of me scurries to catch up.
There's no stopping the tango once it starts. Best to just let myself be sucked into its abrazo, its embrace.
It's not all bad, this pain. It brings back his smile, his ability to inspire, his belief in me. It makes me cry, this pain, but it relieves me too. It assures me that gone is not forgotten. It assures me that death cannot extinguish life. It assures me that when all else is gone, love remains.
I did really well today. I worked with an amazing group of women and we delivered a product that exceeded all our expectations. I let myself be rocked in the moment of glory. I let myself be embraced by the strong women who surrounded me, and I let myself BE one of the strong women.
And then I came home and celebrated with my family, my husband and my daughter, who'd seen me struggle with deliverables for the past two weeks. They'd watched me forge ahead without remembering. They'd watched me struggle without dancing. They'd watched me fight sleep without Pain. They were so proud, and I felt so incredibly happy in that moment.
And in that brightest moment, as I sat there , relishing in the amazement of the day, the memory of my Dad, mon Papa, came flashing back. Pain.
In that shining moment of brightness.
In that brightest moment.
You would have been proud, Papa. I did well. I was strong. I am strong.
Thank you for helping me be strong.
I exceeded my expectations. But I don't think I exceeded yours. I think you prepared me for these moments of greatness, of brightness, my whole life.
I think that's why you visit me in these moments, you and Pain. I think that's where I'll always find you: in these brightest moments.
I wish you could have been there to see me shine bright today.
I think you were.
We could have danced.
I think we did.