he’ll listen, but he will already know.

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I remember wishing more than anything for my dad to visit me in my dreams after he passed away. I almost felt angry when friends or family told me that he was in theirs,
like I was being cheated out of seeing him, or he was choosing to visit other people first,

or maybe even like he was okay with leaving me.

But then, he came.
I was standing in my mom’s kitchen and I had been crying, it was the day of my dad’s funeral and I was overwhelmed, heart-broken, and somehow I was simultaneously numb.
I heard the garage door open and I didn’t bother to look up, because the only person I needed to walk through that door never would again.
I felt a presence before me, and then I saw two hands reach out on the counter.

I miss his hands so much.
I can’t bear the thought of forgetting them.

The hands that held every ounce of my being the moment I came into this world. The hands that gripped the back of my bike as I was screaming, “please don’t let go!” The hands that picked me up off of the ground when I crashed into the neighbor’s pickup truck.
The hands that put my heart back together better than anyone else could.

I saw his hands and I looked up; he was smiling.

He leaned forward; almost as if he had a secret for me that no one else could know.
“I can’t stay long, but I needed to make sure you were okay. Come with me.”

He held my hands and my legs were shaking as he walked me to the front door. “Please don’t go, daddy. I want to tell you all about today. Please stay. So many people came and so many people love you. I want to tell you about the stories and the jokes and I want to tell you about how brave I tried to be,
you would have been proud.”

Before I could finish, he leaned down and kissed my forehead as he said, “you don’t have to tell me about it doll baby, I was there. I saw everything.
And you’re right, I am so proud.”

He walked out the door, and he was gone.
Just like that.

Much of my life has felt like this dream since my daddy left me here.
I have felt aloneness that I didn’t know existed and sadness that is immeasurable, but I have also felt the kind of comfort that couldn’t possibly come from this earth unaided. I have found anger in wishing he could stay and clarity in knowing there was somewhere else he needed to go.

I have found peace in full moons and superstitions, and I have found hope, love, and light around corners that I could have sworn were dead-ends.
It hasn’t gotten easier, but I am learning to make room for the pain. I am learning to find happiness in this new kind of normal, and I am learning to unapologetically let myself laugh again.

I miss my dad every single day, and sometimes I am overwhelmed with all of the things I can’t wait to tell him when I see him again.

I’m reminded when I least expect it that he will finish my story before I get to the punch line.

That he will smile and listen, but that he will already know.

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