It feels like I’m on a circular path in the woods, going round and round. On each lap, the light breaks a little more, and I notice a bit more of the landscape. Maybe I’m going to keep going in circles until I see what is all around me. Maybe then I can find some direction in which to travel.
Today, my realization is of something that seems obvious: that I’m no longer the father of a son. I’ve of course noted that my son is dead, and that he’s not coming back. But I hadn’t felt the loss so deeply until today. I have a daughter, yes, but I no longer have a son. So I’m mourning the loss of all of the gender-related stuff that I haven’t yet purged from my head, and a few other things. I’ll never be able to play with him in the dirt, or buy him those super-cool black approach shoes I saw at the store the other day, or catch him when he jumps in the pool, or teach him to pee in the bushes (when we go hiking!), or talk to him about appropriately sticking up for his sister at the playground, or find a kind way to tell him to shave that peach fuzz off of his lip.
But even more than the things that come with raising him is the loss of knowing him. I wish I could talk to him at twelve (and have him scoff at how technologically inferior I am), and at eighteen, and twenty-five, and when he’s my age now. I’m feeling the loss of knowing the person he was, and would be, and what he would think and feel, and what mark he might want to make on the world.
I’m feeling the loss of this person– who only happened to be my son– and I’m really, really sad about it.