Watching Dad Breathe Again

Last night, my boyfriend found some videos on my laptop that I’d taken this past year and he asked if we could watch them. Two minutes in, I felt maybe the sharpest pain I’ve felt since my dad passed. I felt the horribly cruel pain of watching my dad breathe again. Seeing a picture reminds me of my dad but watching him breathe and laugh and deliver the saving punch lines to otherwise uninteresting conversations is watching what I lost. It is so eerily close to having him alive. I wanted to jump in the fucking computer. I lost it. I wailed and wished I’d taken more videos and wished I’d spent even more time at home and wished I could do something to make the video never end. And it ended and I called my mom at 2:00AM scrambling to see if maybe she had more and I wanted to never stop watching the videos and also couldn’t physically handle watching another one. I think maybe we work hard to block out the living memories, to remember the past as a concrete fixture, not as a living, moving being. When the past is concrete, it’s easier to block it out and to compartmentalize it and to try to make sense of it. But when you see the video and the movement and when you remember that the past is fluid and alive, it’s impossible to accept death. It’s so close. He’s so close. Looking at that video killed me. It felt so fucking close. I still wear the shirt that I wore in that video. I haven’t gotten my haircut since then. The house is the same. All the things are the same, we still live with them and he is gone. But he was here and alive just a few months ago! It’s too surreal. My boyfriend held me and my mom found me more videos and I indulged in watching us sing to my dad and us take medical marijuana for the first time and us go for a swim and I followed my dad’s eyes and his smile and his movement and really remembered. Remembered him and how I felt when I was with him. In those videos he’s my dad and I’m his girl. It’s surprisingly hard to remember both of those people. He’s gone and I’m not that person anymore. I seem the same to everyone who knows me. But when I was with dad, I was his daughter. I was someone different who I’ll never be again.  I was someone I can’t put into words because I don’t know her without him. I was someone I really loved. And it’s hard when I see us there because I’ve been his daughter and that girl for 25 years. It’s a deep loss. I miss her. I miss him more. And seeing the video slapped it in my face. Slapped just how beautiful life was. It still is but right now, it is so very sad. I’ve missed him this whole time. But oh man those videos reminded me just how much.