Reaching

Reaching out as the floor falls away
Fingertips grazing the edge of oblivion
Shrouded in darkness, I scream.

Infinite drop below my falling body
Weightless.

I take a deep breath and I am saved
Lifted by rough hands, a faceless memory
Of you here with me.

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One Year

I’m going to try my best not to cry today. My stomach is in knots though and I want to vomit. It’s been a year since he passed away. A year since my family and I surrounded my dad in that dreary NHS hospital room and filled it with as much love as we possibly could as we said goodbye. 

I wouldn’t say I have a photographic memory, but I can recall every detail of that room, every minute that ticked by and most importantly, every millimeter of his face. I can feel his skin on my fingertips still. I can hear every sound that echoed through that tiny room, including the sounds of crying and near silent prayers passing each persons lips, begging for the situation to do a 180, for reality to shift a different direction.

I will try not to cry today. I will try to laugh with the kids, to hold them tighter, to hold Curtis tighter and remind them all for the millionth time that I love them. I will send my love the best I can across the many miles to my family. It won’t stop their tears from falling, but it may just stop mine.

  

On this day

On this day last year, my sister, her boyfriend, my mom and my dad, came to visit us for three weeks. At the time we didn’t know just how sick my dad was. We thought the sickness he was experiencing was a reoccurring chest infection that the doctors had been telling him he had for over a year, treating it with antibiotics and a nebulizer. They almost didn’t make the trip at this time, they were going to come in March… But that would have been too late.

They spent three weeks with us, we did a lot of mundane things, we hung around the house, but we also did some exploring, seeing Yosemite, Old Town Clovis and Sac, Avila Beach and San Francisco before they went home. 

I’m so grateful that they made the trip, that dad had the opportunity to see the kids and that we had time together as a family before everything shattered just 18 days after his diagnosis. I try so hard not to go to that dark place when I think of him. I try not to dwell on those last days, but to savor the laughs, the joy and the sweetest memories.

I’m glad that Calvin remembers him, that he says often that he misses his papa, and shows Mia photos of him. He’s three and death is a big concept for such a little person. 

Family is the most important thing to me. My little unit of four, my parents, my siblings… These are the people who make me, me. 

History

I don’t know know why this popped into my head tonight, but I started thinking about my first job. During school, my “job” was to get good grades, I wasn’t paid for it of course, but it did get me into University eventually, so that’s something! My first real job though, was bar tending. And perhaps I was destined to begin there, after all, my dad ran pubs before I was born and I was conceived in a pub… Yep, I’ll just leave that ounce of detail at that. 

I loved my first job, for two years I tended bar in a tiny old mans pub, with regular customers, real ale on hand pulls and the deaf dog of the landlord, at my feet. I knew the patrons orders by memory, I knew their families, their histories and in that short time, sadly I saw some of their demise as well.

I quit that job when I was almost finished with University and had decided to spend 3 months in America with Curtis. From there I worked in two more pubs, neither of which had the same charm as that tiny pub I began in, with its beautifully manicured flower pots, rich wooden bat top, outdated “smoking room” and a history that gave me goosebumps whenever I went down into the cellar.

That pub is boarded up now, my boss and his wife retired, a Londoner took over and was unsuccessful, the economy took a steep drop and well, it’s a protected property at over 100 years old, but goodness knows if it will ever see years of patronage again.

The Pyle Cock Inn, Wednesfield, England