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2020-08-17T13:05:52-04:00August 17th, 2020|Parenthood|

The thing I hate about death

My father-in-law lays in his bed
with oxygen tubes up his nose
and my six-year-old daughter lays beside him
with her fingers up her nose.

She says it’s to make him feel better
but I know she’s just excited
that no grown-ups are telling her
to take her fingers out of her nose.

He doesn’t have the coronavirus
or pneumonia or cancer.

He is just ninety-one
and his body,
like a runner at the end
of a long race,
is ready to stop.

My son asks for some alone time with Grandpa
which he tells me later
he showed him pictures of his LEGO
and told him about his crush
and because Grandpa can’t hear,
there was a lot of confusion
about pirates.

I tell my father-in-law
he’s the best dad
I’ve ever had,
which even though
he’s the only one I’ve ever had,
it’s still true.

On the drive home,
my daughter says through her tears:

“The thing I hate about death
is that it’s so permanent.”

There is a quiet moment in the car,
as I hold my husband’s hand,
and then she says:

“It’s basically like tie-dye on your clothes.”

And we all laugh
and cry at the same time,
our hearts wringing out with relief
at not having to keep
so many compartments shut,
as though not feeling
all our emotions at the same time
had been the most tiring
part of all.

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