Rainy days feel particularly hard. All I can do is think of my dad’s body underground, outside in the rain. I don’t think about that aspect of death often but when I hear the rain as I sleep, I think of my poor dad outside in the cold, in the dirt, as the rain pounds on his helpless body. I think of the trees above his grave, how he loved trees. He used to take us to the woods when other kids were getting taken to the mall and he would tell us about the different kinds of trees and why one was more spectacular than the last. We would run through the trees, behind our neighbor’s house, ducking and pushing each other to do one more mile. We felt like champion racers the two of us, dipping and bending and sprinting amongst the squirrels and deer and occasional motor bikes that he hated. But he loved the trees. The two in our front yard, he meticulously trimmed and shaped and watched me climb. He strung Christmas lights on them until his hands turned blue because he knew my mom loved them. He started a competition with our neighbor to see who could string them first every year and wrote letters from the “electric company” telling my neighbor that his rates were lower because of how long it took him to put up the lights. He made mundane magical. He made dreary dreamy. On rainy days he would go outside on the porch and watch. He loved watching the rain drop and the lightning strike and the sky open in front of him. When other people closed their windows, he broke the doors down. He was about life. He saw that life was happening and he didn’t let it go unnoticed. If there were rivers, he swam in them. If there were hills, he sprinted up them. If there was snow falling, he stuck his tongue out like a kid and felt it turn to water in his mouth. And on a rainy day, I ache for him. I am in pain knowing that he is trapped underground while life is happening up here. There are still mountains he hadn’t climbed, monopoly games he hadn’t won, hugs he hadn’t gotten. There is so much life up here to be had and there are days where I don’t have any of it and I know he would’ve and I am mad at the world that that’s the case. I’m mad that he is underground and I am up here. I am mad that I’ve grown two years bigger and he wasn’t here for any of it. He won’t be here for any of the next ones. Every day that passes is a day he becomes more one with the earth and I hate it. He lives in my heart as a giant. A man who saw a day as a challenge. Who saw each rainstorm as an invitation to feel the sky. He didn’t believe in bad days. He got laid off after working at a company for two decades and came home and told us we were going on vacation. He believed in life. In the gorgeous, lucky gift of life that we get to touch every morning and hold every night. He would get mad and he would get sad and he would get disappointed but he wouldn’t let those emotions win. He fought the bad with the present, with the gift of tomorrow and another chance. Another path to take to work, another bakery to explore, another game to invent. He made us all feel alive and now he’s dead. And he is buried and on a rainy day I cry and shake and think of my gorgeous, vibrant dad gone, underground. I want to rescue him and bring him back up for air and let him play with life once more. I ache for his company. I forget what it feels like to know I can go home to see him there. I forget the light that poured out when he opened the door. I forget feeling whole and hearing the rain and knowing my dad was on a porch with a mug of coffee milk watching it. I remember him. I remember him when it rains but I am mad that it’s just a memory of him that I can hold. I want it to be a hand but it’s not. On rainy days, I find myself opening windows. Walking outside without an umbrella to feel what the sky’s water feels like on my body. When it rains, I listen to the drops hitting the cement and I hear how beautiful it sounds. I find no comfort in thinking of my dad being trapped underground during a rainstorm. I would do anything to have one more stormy night, sitting in the family room, listening to the claps of thunder, playing cards and staying up later than we should’ve but holding our breath hoping the other person wouldn’t call it a night so we could avoid another beautiful day ending. There is no comfort in never having that again. But there is comfort in seeing the rain and going outside and feeling it on my skin and knowing it is what he would have done.