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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

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Photo by Akshar Dave on Unsplash

December has been tough these last few years. (Really, read the post I wrote last year, it's decent). This year I decided I'll give myself more space, indulge myself in doing nothing (read: playing stupid games on the iPad) while listening to podcasts (I have quite the backlog). Of course, I've been rubbish at that. I don't know how to indulge (thanks, grandma). As you can gather, no coherent writing has been taking place, either.

Yes, time heals the wounds. Yes, the hole in my heart is no longer jagged. The pain is no longer so powerful it knocks me down. But when I see videos of my kids with him, the absence is real. He hasn't seen my son win the school talent competition in 2018. He didn't get to see my daughter dance like a pro. He doesn't get to hear their jokes, their random connection making. He doesn't get to see their brilliance. In the videos, my kids are so little. He hasn't watched them grow.

I think (and read) about who I was back then, how I've changed since he died, how his death changed me, but also how his legacy did. He hasn't seen me write fiction, not really. He hasn't seen me change my career path, understanding that the race isn't for me like he did. Realising this isn't what I want. Discovering what I do want. He hasn't watched me grow.

I remember his simple philosophies and his goofy laugh. I remember his earnest goodness of heart and his scathing criticisms. I remember how he loved to read and how he told me that reading too much isn't good for me. I remember him being the first in his family to go to university and not finishing his degree because he missed one course. I remember him telling me that education is the most important thing and also that being too smart will get me in trouble. There's no glow around him. He was a difficult, loving, judgemental, argumentative, optimistic, practical, insensitive, caring man. He was full of contradictions like all people are.

This year is extra tough because I can't be with my mum and my siblings. I can't hug them by the grave. I can't share with them: food, a glass of wine, a joint, how dreadfully we miss him. It's usually in that order; my family isn't a "share your feelings" kind of family. This year we'll light a candle with them, but from 3,000 km away, on Zoom. And I'll think about the families who had to say goodbye to a loved one via FaceTime and all the daughters who didn't get to hug their dad one last time, and I'll feel grateful.

And I'll miss him.


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