I love you...

When I was a kid, like so many other kids, my Dad taught me how to ride a bike in the garden. I remember it was warm, spring time warm, but not so warm he was able to take off his cardigan.
Then again, he never took off his cardigan.
He was laughing, I remember that.
I can feel his hand on my back right now, all these years later, sitting in my office with the rain tap tapping on the window, and my keyboard and coffee pooled in the light from my lamp.
I can remember he was laughing, but I can’t remember what it sounded like.
I’ve forgotten the sound of my father’s laughter.
In my memory, I turn around, I see him, laughing like he’s in a silent movie running behind me, his hand on my back.
I can feel his hand.
But I can’t hear him.
I’ve forgotten the sound of my father’s laughter.
He died twenty five years ago.
I can’t remember the sound of his laughter, but I do remember the sound he made when his battered and tattered heart gave out that night all those years later. He cried out, eyes closed, head tilted forward, chin in his chest, fists balled, at the edge of the end and not wanting to go.
I remember that.
I miss him.
I’ve an old car, a desperate for attention busted up old thing, that needs more jobs than Detroit.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been under that car and wished my Dad was there to pass me a wrench and give me some advice. Although deep down I know he’d give me a nudge, and tell me to get out of the way while he did whatever it was needed doing.
I’m not very good with cars.
My Dad was.
Like a shadow creeping across the grass on a bright summer’s day. memories fade and move away. As time passes, in the setting sun of a late afternoon, memories become difficult to focus on, their edges soften, they bleed into the darkness of the gathering night.
And then they are gone, forgotten, or at best hazy dreams you have to squint at.
Hazy memories of hazy memories.
My Dad didn’t like having his picture taken. He’d frown and quietly shuffle out of shot, and nobody would notice he wasn’t there until it was too late.
Now it is too late.
I’ve inherited that frown and shuffle, but I don’t have kids to look for me in old pictures so I guess it doesn’t matter all that much.
They’ll be nobody to look at pictures I’m not in.
My Mother once told me she could feel the weight of my Dad lying in bed next to her years after he had gone. She said every night his side of the bed was empty, she could feel his weight, the tilt, take comfort from it, every night he was there, even though he wasn’t.
He wasn’t there, even though the weight of him was.
I feel that weight, heavier than his hand.
A weight of expectation, the weight of his hopes, the dreams he never got the chance to have.
They are heavier than his hand.
I want to make a ghost proud, I want to show it what I’ve done, what I can do, and ask for help when I can’t.
But it is too late.
He’s gone.
Take a look around the room you are in right now.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Was there someone you love? Was there a phone, a pc, a tablet or even a pen and paper?
Was there a chance to reach out?
To tell someone you love them?
I’d give me life for that chance.
You shouldn’t waste it, shuffle into their photo, shuffle into their hearts, shuffle into their memories, let them hear you laugh, and make sure you listen to theirs.
Remember their laugh.
Tell them you love them.
Say that you’re proud.
Say that you’re happy.
Say it again.
Say I love you.
Before it is too late.