He would have been 83

More than all the gold in the world

Saw a buncha kids around my son the other day cause he was telling them a story.

Laughed to myself as I approached them because I find him so amusingly social.

But then I heard him what he was saying.

Him: She died when I was a baby. I was only a few days old.
Boy: Were you sad?
Him: (nods)
Girl: How did she die?

That’s when I had to turn back. This is not how it’s supposed to fucking be. Shit. Piss. Fuck.

He’s in fucking first grade. This is not what a first grader should be talking about.

Speaking of painful, my dad woulda been 83 this week.

It hurts that my son will never know him. That he’ll never know Alison.

My dad took us back to Taiwan when his dad, my grandfather, died. I was the same age as the kid in the photo above, about two?

So, I have no recollection. Suppose I turned out fine but I realize how much this must have hurt my dad because I feel the loss myself now.

Whenever we would talk, he would want to cook me something. I suppose that was his love language: Food.

When I was doing keto/Atkins, he made it a point to keep steaks in the freezer so he could make me a steak with broccoli on the side. I eventually got tired of steak – a wild thing to say, I realize – but I never said anything because I knew he bought an army’s worth of steak for me to have.

If you have both parents and all grandparents, consider yourself very lucky in that regard. I never knew my dad’s dad, just like my son won’t know his dad’s dad.

Him: You miss your daddy? Because he died?
Me: (slowly) Yes. I miss my daddy.
Him: I’m sorry, papa.
Me: Thanks, kiddo. You’re my favourite, you know?
Him: Even mommy?
Me: (thinking) We both loved you more than anything else in the world.
Him: More than anything?
Me: (nodding) More than anything. More than all the gold in the world.

Location: this fucking place
Mood: heartbroken
Music: the beautiful thing You’re doing is making new things out of ruins (Spotify)
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7 Replies to “He would have been 83”

  1. :(?
    At least he is able to talk about it. I wasn’t able to. Not even to my teacher, I was in 2nd grade when my grandfather died. I was left here at a family friends home while my parents and siblings left for the funeral overseas.

    I cried alot but I never was able to tell anyone about it. My teachers didn’t know what was going on.

    All I can say is at least he can talk about. First graders know, kids feel things no matter what age. I know I did. 🙁

    1. Ah, I hope you’re right. I try not to make him feel weird about it so the hope is that he won’t be as negatively affected as you, and others, were in similar matters. I’m glad he can talk about it. It’s just difficult to hear.

  2. The story of Alison will stay with me forever. I remember the blog post (on LJ) where you proposed to her. Your wedding. When she started her blog. When she edited your novel… it sucks the kiddo won’t know her. But she lives on in the stories you tell him.

    I never thought I’d have a kid. And def not states away from my family. Seeing how happy she made my dad was unreal. It breaks my heart he only got 4 months watching her grow. She will never know him or all the things he would had sacrificed to make her happy.

    This is one of those soft spot things that you can’t really put into words why. It just hurts. But it also makes me cherish my time with my kiddo so much more.

    1. Sigh. I wonder, often, how people that read all about her since the beginning looked at her and me and this whole fucking thing. I remember reading one woman’s journey through things and, one day, she disappeared. A few months later, her husband wrote that she collapsed and died from her cancer, somewhat suddenly.

      I remember how that felt and then it went away. In some ways, I wish I could forget Alison and my dad, as terrible as that sounds. But I can’t and wouldn’t truly want to.

      1. Loss will always hurt, it will always suck.

        Achilles: The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal. Because any moment might be our last. Everything’s more beautiful because we’re doomed.

        I like to keep this in mind when the feeling of loss gets to be too heavy. Cancer has taken away every single one of my family members on both sides. It took my dad and my grandpa, it’ll probably take me some day.

        But we shouldn’t wish to forget our loved ones because it hurts that they’re gone. Reading what happened between you and Alison was something that impacted my life and I’m sure others who have known you, even if we’ve never met you in person.

        My friend likes to tell me I’m lucky because I’m married and I have a child; “something most people want/dream about” but I never wanted a family. Yes Tums has changed my life, but I’m starting to think marriage itself isn’t for me.

        You had a wife you will love for the rest of your life, here or not. And honestly, I don’t know what that feels like — to be that in love with someone.

  3. Echoing the comment above, at least he is okay with sharing it with his friends. I lost my dad when I was 12 and even now it’s so nice to talk about them. I’m sure he feels connected when he’s talking about her. Maybe at some point you’ll be able to hear the rest of his stories and see how he’s feeling. You are doing a good job, give yourself more credit. Yes it sucks that he won’t know her as he grows up but he’ll always know her through you.

    1. I think you’re right, he does feel that connection. But it seems so cheap compared to a real connection with a living, breathing person. It’s all a distant second place to what we wanted for ourselves and him.

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