Inside my blue chest painted with red and white flowers, the aged air hangs lonely above its treasures.
Your weathered lefty baseball glove. Green sweatshirt printed “Still Waters Bookstore & Cafe.” Cannister of African red tea with a single bag remaining, as it has for five years. Thick stack of homemade birthday and Father’s day cards scribbled with little girl adulations and colorful drawings; another stack of Hallmark and collage-style cards stuffed with words of love from a young adult daughter. Your reading glasses with their limp, folded stems. A book inscribed with your beautiful lettering inside its cover, echoes of a Papa’s eternal love from distant shores. The program of your memorial service, your laughing form sitting on the fireplace ledge of the bookstore, black and white and faded.
Faded. It’s all faded and backlit, quiet and pulsing.
Five years it’s been. Five times walking down this August road - from the sixth when you fell to the thirteenth when you died to the twenty-fourth when we crowded into the church and I sang for you with my guitar - of living and breaking and grieving and healing. Of remembering.
Every August the loneliness sets in, my companion, peeling back the void. My world rent open when you died, now pieced together with scar and tissue, leaves me limping still. And life goes on, as the saying goes, but I fight cliche and the relegating of you to the foggy world of memory.
I hate that you are now a piece of my past and not my flesh-and-blood present, for memories alone are lonely.
And yes, your life threads across my pages of story as another year turns without you. But I see it, too, in photos of our family, with faces older and alive, how we huddle close to cover the empty space and smile - and how it tips, lopsided.
You were my Papa and you are my Papa and you always will be my Papa, and in my heart there will always be that space where your memory echoes and warms and fades into lonely shadow.
Joining Lisa-Jo and the Five-minute Friday community for this week’s prompt, “Lonely.”