4 Years Now

I still remember what the room was like when Dad died. He passed in the room that was assigned to me in childhood, and I was a little too late to see him go. There was a slight breeze in the air, the temperature was perfect and beautiful. But it was so empty. As if the lifeless body in there didn’t even exist.

The most comforting thing someone told me at the time is the thing that still sticks with me now: Your greatest fear is that you’ll forget—his voice, his scent, what the day was like… but you will never forget. I still haven’t forgotten. I still talk about him in the present. I still say “my parents” when I really just mean my mom.

For months after, I begged him to haunt me. I woke up in the middle of the night on several nights, at the exact same time, eyes wide open, searching the darkness for a spook. It never happened. I still hold my breath and look into the darkness when I wake in the middle of the night, only to find it empty.