Something rises when your father dies

Something rises when your father dies–not resentment, not regret.

Your chest rises as you inhale to gain momentum to say the words ascending from your heart into your head: “My father passed away.”

Expectations rise–especially if you’re the eldest. 

Or the one who cared for him the most. 

Questions also rise.

Your courage rises to carry the casket, to bury the body, to allow his spirit to lift itself into the sky where you will look for him among the stars.

Your hand rises to shake the hands of mourners as you confirm: you are your father’s legacy.

Grudges lift.  As does any complication that distanced you from him. 

The weight of any expectation, yours or his, assumed or accurate–all of this lifts. 

You let go of this the same way he let go your hand that last time you were young.

When he became sick or old, your hands embraced again. But this time, you held his hand more than he held yours.

You raise the volume when his music plays.  The timbre rises, the ring, the echo.  You hear the hums more deeply.  The beats linger in your head one moment longer than before, just a bit off beat.

In quiet, his wisdom–long winded or concise–rises in your mind.

Alone on summer nights, you look up to the sky: you talk into the clouds, the words much easier to say.

Unpredictably, from time to time, in dreams at night, his presence rises.  

Sometimes you see him; sometimes you sense his company.  

Some months ago, I dreamt of my father’s homeland: the sun-baked soil, the rapid river, both the dust and water’s current swirled.  I didn’t see him.  But he was there.  We were there, standing in the sun.

Each morning after burying your father, you rise.  You stare into the mirror.  In moments, you see your father’s features.  

In you, you see your father’s gestures, his posture, his build.

When you laugh sometimes, you hear echoes of his joy in yours.

After his death, your chin rises.  

Because with your father now at rest under earth, you know exactly where you stand.

My father passed away one year ago today. I am proud to be his legacy.

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