Temps in the teens and a light coating of snow, the first I’ve seen this season. Hopefully, there will be more. Tonight the sun sets at 5:22pm.

My father died six years ago today. It still feels like it’s only been a year or two, maybe three. Time gets funny when you start losing people. More and more dates on the calendar and sometimes even entire seasons become associated with a loved one’s final days, the ambient quarrels or tiny grudges that you’d give anything to feel again.

Maybe some people structure their histories in terms of accomplishments or presidencies. My timeline is organized by loss, something I only notice when confronted with personal and cultural trivia: When did I go to China? What year did Ex Machina come out? I find myself riffling through the years between when my mother’s liver failed (2009) and when I drove like hell to make it to my grandfather’s bedside but got the news in a strip mall parking lot (2011) and when my father died of septic shock (2016), just weeks after getting his new liver (2015). So much hope, suddenly gone.

I once visited a therapist who said these were traumatic losses because they were sudden and unexpected, which implies if the circumstances were different, I might have been prepared. I did not return to therapy. Maybe I should give it another try. Perhaps it’s abnormal to organize my sense of time around my dead. Or maybe everyone does this, and it’s simply the price of getting older—the cost of loving and being loved. After losing my parents, a sensation of freefall appeared, and it’s still with me now: the slight flutter in the belly, the sense of being untethered from the world. So I like my way of understanding time because it keeps everyone close to me.

Last year I did not think about my father’s death on January 6. I was busy wondering if our government might fall. Only now does it occur to me these dates are shared, that I’ll see this date advertised in retrospectives and commemorations for years to come. Live long enough and maybe it’s inevitable that personal and public damage will collide.

Leyland Kirby – Memories Live Longer Than Dreams

Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was | 2009 | Bandcamp