My husband told me my father passed away.
“Check again, check again.” I plead with my husband.
“Honey, there is no heartbeat. I feel no pulse.” He looks at me, hoping I would believe him.
“No, you are wrong. You don’t even have a stethoscope. What kind of doctor can determine death without a stethoscope? How can you be for sure?” At this point I was screaming in between sobs, shaking my husband, asking him to check again because I am certain he was wrong.
“I don’t need a stethoscope, hon. I’ve checked his pupils. I’ve seen this too many times. I am sorry, your father has passed.”
At that, it registered, that my father was no more. I curled up next to him, hugging his brown, lifeless body, yelled that I was too late to say goodbye. I cried what felt like all of the years of my life and my husband pulled me up, placing his hands around my waist and carried me into the next room.
I couldn’t think about my father being invisible, so I thought about the weather. The sky was a pale blue on the day my father passed away. It wasn’t cold, nor was it hot, but it was a day, that you could picnic or pull your windows down, blaring the radio so loud, the people in the cars around you would wonder if you are deaf. When he died, at 10:30 p.m., a year ago today, I thought to myself, it is too pretty of a day for my father to leave us. He was in a hurry, but I was too. We had a four and a half hours to make it from Houston to Dallas. My husband who usually drives like it is a perpetual school zone, channelled his inner race-car driver, so that I could say goodbye, but we couldn’t make it. We were fifteen minutes late.
One year later, I still think about how I couldn’t make it time. I saw him only a week prior to his passing and the last thing I said to him was, “I love you Dad.” He yelled from his hospice bed, “I love you too.” I try to focus on that moment, but sometimes the grief takes you back to to moments you miss the most.
I miss hearing my father’s voice. I miss arguing with him about the law. I miss watching him play with my daughter. I miss walking into my childhood home, expecting my father and my mother at the kitchen table drinking tea. One year later, the grief doesn’t decrease, but hits you in casual ways, taunting you with reminders of the past.
There is no closure. I don’t think there can be. I hope in the quiet that my father will give me a sign that he is cancer-free, that he is wandering somewhere, pain-free, eating his rice and dal, walking around talking about the things that he loved like politics and his basket business. It hasn’t happened yet, but I will keep waiting, praying that he is just running late, about to give me a sign any time now.