I have six voicemails from my dad on my phone, and I almost deleted them today by accident.
Talk about heart stopping.
Dad has been gone now for two years and seven months. I have not once listened to these voicemails from him. I can tell you what they say. I can still hear his voice in my head, saying my voicemail greeting is utter bullshit, joking as always. I can hear him saying hey girl, give your dad a call. Or yelling “Pirates!” and hanging up. The pirates thing. . . Inside joke from when Matt was little, watching Scooby Doo, and him just yelling “Pirates!” And pointing at the TV. We thought it was hilarious and would randomly yell “Pirates!” – at each other, or anyone else, regardless if they were in on the joke or not. Anyway. There’s six of them, and just thinking about listening to them gives me anxiety. I can feel my heart beat quicken and my breath shorten. In two years and seven months I have not been able to listen to them, and I can’t imagine being able to listen to them any time soon. But if they disappeared, I would be devastated.
I can’t see his smile anymore but for pictures. And a smile in a picture is rare because he usually put on his serious face for a picture. His “don’t fuck with me” look. And if you were brave enough to fuck with a man with a look like that, well. But when he did smile you could see the complete joy or love he had inside that was often hid behind the “don’t fuck with me” look. Or the sarcastic smile when you got one over on him. That was one of my favorites. “Alright, girl. Knock it off.”
I can’t feel his hug, or smell his cologne or get his advice or lean on him for strength anymore. I can’t make him laugh anymore with the boys antics or worry him by running down my days activities. “Girl, you need to sit down. Take care of yourself. You can’t be everyone.” But dad, I learned this from the best. You were everyone to me and Aaron. I could never have learned to knock out a to do list like I do if I hadn’t had a good example. I never could have learned improvisation if I hadn’t watched you McGyver your way through our lives. I never told him that, and I believe he knows now what I could never put into words then, that he is and always will be my role model.
If I could get past this anxiety though, I could at least hear his voice.
What it comes down to is not that I’m afraid to hear his voice, it’s that I’m afraid of my reaction.
I don’t feel as lost as I did initially when he passed. After two years and seven months, I’m still alive, I’m not penniless and destitute, nor am I in jail for knocking some of these motherfuckers that cross my path out like they need. I have exhibited self control, I have furthered myself, and I live and I breath and I love.
I don’t want to feel that lost and helpless again. And I’m afraid that in hearing his voice, I will realize how very alone I am, and my world will come crashing down again.
I’m not really alone. I know that. But without him it feels that way sometimes.
Someday I’ll find it in me to listen to the voicemails. That day isn’t today. I’m just glad they’re still there. So that when I’m ready, I can hear his voice again.