While he lived, the best trick my dad pulled was making the world feel smaller. With him in it, the world was safer, easier to understand and conquerable.
When he passed, the world suddenly expanded to include this “new” space, which was not really new, just … now vacant.
Emptied of his presence and demanding to be charted, I navigate this vastness with care and a tiny bit of fear from the knowledge that in this world, I am a little smaller than I used to be.
Most days, in my busy and bigger life, I don’t realize he isn’t there. Then at odd moments I remember without warning. And I am gripped with an incredible sadness, and that space threatens to overwhelm me.
Then I remember that I am precisely strong enough to do this because of him. I am my father’s strength. The space contracts and the feeling of being overwhelmed passes quickly. The sadness, not so quickly. And I sing Elvis in my head.