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I Don’t Want To Live Without You, Dad.

Some days, I don’t want to live without you.
Today is one of those days.

The other day, I was sitting in front of my laptop
Writing that post about Motel 6 and
Roadtrips when I was a little girl.
And, I remembered,
I will never take another road trip with you again
(Diet Dr. Pepper in a light blue can)

At that moment, with work piled high
I shut the laptop
And did not return to it for another day

This is how it is with loss
It’s the closet under the stairs
Too short in which to stand

The grief bends me over

It’s the corner in the basement
Impassable by ductwork

It’s the letter that slips out of the book that
Inexplicably tumbles from the stack
The nook, the cranny, the things tucked inside
Saved, but lost in efforts to avoid

I loved you, but not enough
And not as much as you loved me,

And, I’m in my pajamas at eleven
Who can understand?

Today, I take a book from atop a stack
Of the endless stacks of books in this house
God, save me from daytime TV and Twitter
Like the reporter said, if not for PR people it would collapse

And, here I sit on the couch,
The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Inside I see your writing:

Prchasd (you always abbreviated like that) at Thrift Store on NW 16th St., Okla.City, OK. for $2.61, 14 Feb., 2000.

You bought this book 10 years ago
When you could still read and still write

I open it on this Tuesday determined to read the 14 pages
That comprises The Fall of the House of Usher
Screw the kitchen
Piled high
Dried crackers and chili in bowls
A melted stick of butter
And who the hell left the blow dryer on the counter
And the space heater
Don’t you know this is a kitchen?

It was me.

And why doesn’t anyone help me pick up all this crap?
Coats and shoes and toys and
Someone call the thrift store
Save me from the insanity of owning too much

Too much bending over and picking up junk
That doesn’t matter
Sometimes, it mattered more than you
And, when did I stop breathing in the words of Poe in Usher:

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone on horseback through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.

I remember,
You told me how when you were a boy
You could check out all the books from the school library you wanted
Because they knew you’d read them all
Just as I know you read The Fall of the House of Usher
But are not here to tell me
How does one learn to sing like Poe
Again, if ever?

Newspapers close up shop
And, colleges go online
With whom will I read
The Fall of the House of Usher?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Loren Christie

    Jen, This a beautiful, moving post. You were on my mind today, and I’ve been meaning to visit you here. Isn’t that crazy, a complete stranger? -Your NY blogger friend.

  2. John Hayes

    Beautiful & moving–your mother’s words, too. We are none of us perfect in giving love to those around us–we all can see how we come up short. But I believe from what I’ve read on your blog you love your father very well & I bet he knew that & still does know it somehow. I know what it likes to see someone as a shell; it’s hard–our thoughts are with you.

  3. jen

    @MOM – Thanks, mom. I treasure this note. The moments are precious and few…xoxo

    @ROB – You’ll read with me? Promise? Just 9 more weeks.

    @ALLY – A slew of perfect days – we didn’t know they were perfect then. Thank you so much for your comment.

    @JOHN – I almost didn’t post this!! Thank you for validating my decision. =)

    @LE – I can’t believe you wrote this or how generous you are to me. I feel the same way, but think if I say it you’ll think I’m touched in the head!! We’re soul mates!! I’m copying this and putting into a book, which will inexplicably fall from the stack – someday! Love to you, Le!

  4. le @ whoopwhoop

    Although not so close
    To see the book in your hands
    I picture it now in my head
    In my head you and I read
    Together, out loud
    We laugh and we cry
    We lament and we sigh
    For lovers now lost
    Children still in our reach
    For the men we call husbands
    For the loves that never cease

    As it is with your dad
    With Robert and Sully
    Wee Bridgi and darling JuJu
    The ones you call family

    And while not blood
    I cannot deny
    The connection I feel
    To my Jen across the skies
    Love you dearheart
    Like a sister no less
    Yet somehow better and so feeling blessed.
    To have Jen in my life
    For it is such a treat
    For all I have learnt and we are still yet to meet.

    le xoxo

  5. Anonymous

    If I where not still upon a sightless sea I would read with you.
    But for now like Drake and Robert Poole I am like a pirate upon that sightless sea.
    Sailing with a purpose the Armada just in sight.
    Victory is only hard work, vigilance and and ounce of providence away.
    When the last galleon which will soon be sunk.
    And the kings treasure secure.
    Will I read with you my princess bride.

    The Dread Pirate Robert

  6. Anonymous


    You will read it with your dad, because he is ever within you. I do believe POE was his favorite author, and he especially favored Annabel Lee.

    He loved to write and many of his poems were/are very deep and tend to stir the emotions. I loved to have him read to me with his rich, resilient voice. I still hear it within me.

    Books– shelves upon shelves of books. I still have most of his library. There is no wonder you have a love for books, and you have instilled that love of reading (and writing too)
    to your children.

    So who cares if you stay in your PJ’s until noon, or the dishes don’t get done, or the carpet vaccumed. All of it will all be there tomorrow. Take your time and inhale every precious moment.

    Love you– Mom

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