People say this thing about death – that the person never leaves and that you’ll see them everywhere. I’ve found immense comfort in it. I’ve taken solace in knowing that my dad lives inside of me and finds me throughout these long days to pick my eyes up. I see him everywhere. I feel less alone walking, knowing his warmth follows me. But I do see him everywhere. I woke up this morning, as I had the four mornings prior, thinking he was alive. I have this recurring dream where my dad is just starting to show signs of the tumor recurring. Tripping, forgetting words, unable to see me when I’m on his left side. He can’t tell but I can. I wake up with the knowledge that my dad is about to die but that he doesn’t know it. Then I slowly realize that I was having a nightmare. Then I realize that I lived through that nightmare. And that it too follows me. A radiator is my dad breathing heavily while he was in a coma. My boyfriend saying hey baby is my dad mouthing those words to my mom when he couldn’t speak. My mom yelling my name is her needing me to help grab my dad before he collapses to the ground. Every once in a while when I see a familiar barista or hear an old joke at a show, it feels like maybe this year never happened. Like I am waking up from a nap to the same New York. Like my dad is a phone call away. But most other times it feels like I am still living in the nightmare and that everyone else exists at an arms length. Close enough to touch but far enough that I can’t quite hear what they’re saying. All I hear is my dad saying it will be okay, all I hear is his doctors saying it won’t be. I find myself checked out. Far away – traipsing through the past, fearing the future. Nowhere is protected because my dad is everywhere. But as unbearable as it is, I’m okay with it. Because people also say this thing about time: that it never erases the pain but that it dulls it. I hate that. I don’t find that at all comforting because I don’t want to dull the pain. The triggers, the memories, the pain is where my dad lives. I dread the day when I see a baby on her dad’s shoulders and don’t cry because that means I will be getting used to the reality and moving forward. If I stay put, I can hold on tightly and exist in flux– I can float between pretending everything is the same and living in the nightmare. Coming down to the ground and living in the present is what scares me. Living in flux is tolerable because it is there that he breathes. I’ve watched him take his last breath and I refuse to experience that twice. I know eventually I will have to learn to keep him at a further distance but at the moment I’ll keep the night sweats and I’ll keep excusing myself from parties if it means I’ll keep my dad closer. My dad is everywhere and for now, that is where I choose to keep him.