In Memoriam, Dillon Tyler Urquhart, 3.08.1979 – 8.02.2013
©2013 by Jack A. Urquhart 370 words
Dear Dillon, Dear Son,
You are much on my mind today.
It has been 72 days now. You’d think that would be long enough, wouldn’t you? Long enough for anyone to settle into reality. But I’m not quite there yet.
On the contrary, I keep fooling myself that parents don’t outlive their children; over and over, I grasp at that notion, hold on to it for dear life—until the idea of your death seems as unreal as ever. I tell myself that it must be a terrible mistake, a misunderstanding—your absence. Nothing more than another bad dream. Something I imagined?
I do that sometimes, you know—conjure up a scenario so terrible, and in such detail, that it almost seems real? And then I pull myself back from the brink with a great sigh of relief, thankful that it’s all been a fantasy, just my head getting away from me.
Only this time, I can’t; this time, it isn’t.
This time I can’t pull back from the truth for more than a few scattered hours; a day or two here and there at best. I can’t take lasting comfort in any hard evidence that refutes imagination. No matter how hard I work to ignore the space you’ve vacated, it persists, waits to blindside me—usually when I’m thinking the worst is over and that I’m getting stronger.
Just then, some innocuous moment overwhelms:
A young family roughhousing in the park; a new Daddy toting his infant through the mall; a father and son in animated conversation at a local diner, their blood-deep relationship as plain as the nose on your face, as obvious as their before-and-after versions of the same profile.
That is when it all comes home to me—the permanence of your absence:
No more late-night phone calls and texts, no e-mails; never again a laughing lunch as you slurp your way through a steaming bowl of Pho.
Nothing of that Dillon who occasioned so much happiness, and worry, and laughter, and aggravation. And love.
So. Much. Love.
Except in my dreams, where you show up as real as ever. As real as ever.
Just as real as ever.