I'm in kind of a dark place right now.  Not literally.  I am literally sitting in bed with my dog at my feet, in my bright, warm room.

But I am in a dark place, mentally.  Six years ago, this morning, my life changed forever when my father died.  Realistically, it started changing after he had a stroke the previous October, but this was the definitive end.  His end, at any rate.

Six years is a long time.  In six years, you can have a baby, and raise it to school-aged.  That's not insignificant.  You can carry out a the back half of a second term of a presidency, and nearly execute a full term new presidency - with varying results.

In six years, you can reach a breaking point, make some hasty decisions, then disentangle yourself from them once you realize you were wrong.

In six years, you can reach a different breaking point, make some hasty decisions, followed by some calculated decisions, and you can get yourself out of a bad situation and into a really good one.

In six years, you can put in time into new endeavors,  personal and professional.

In six years, you can re-learn how to celebrate holidays that you thought would never bring joy again.  And some of them are better, some are not as good, but at least, in six years, you manage to get through most of them without crying yourself sick.  And the ones that do make you sick teach you something.

In six years, you can gain and lose the same 20 pounds so many time, your weight chart looks like the stripe on Charlie Brown's shirt.

Good Grief!

You can discover, in six years, several new favorite television shows.

You can find new recipes, cook meals for people you love.

You can be there for friends in the worst years of their lives.

You can adopt a really stubborn little dog who is as hardheaded as she is loving, and she can go from puppy to middle-aged.

You can watch the kids in your life grow up.  You can buy them presents from time to time, just because that's something your Dad would have done.

You can go to weddings and parties and funerals.

You can hold your friends' new baby.  And she's wearing a pink pussy ears hat and she's perfect.

You can take vacations.

You can have birthdays.

You can get your performance reviews, and bonuses.

You can get a stomach bug, or a cold.

You can visit your mother and do nice things for her.

You can welcome her new boyfriend into your life.

And his kids.  And their kids.

You can eat your feelings, and starve them.

You can start therapy, thinking it'll be a quick, handful of sessions thing,

You can stay in therapy for half a decade with no end in sight, because sometimes, it just helps to have someone you can tell everything to.

You can have exhilarating, wonderful dreams, and weird, messy nightmares.

You can buy yourself jewelry, or make meatloaf, or feed the birds, or make a donation on days you feel the need to commemorate, or administer self-care.

You can get manicures, and pedicures and massages.

You can get mammograms, and pap smears and colposcopies,

You can sing karaoke.

You can sing in the car.

You can sing in the shower.

You can also cry in the car and shower, and if you're stealth, sometimes at your desk.

You can write sympathy cards now like a fucking expert because you know what you say, and that is that you say something.  Say anything - because anything is better than nothing.

You can write emails that you will never send to a recipient who would never read them.

You can get published in McSweeney's, once.  You can get rejected by McSweeney's way, way more.

You can come up with ideas for a novel you keep meaning to write, but don't.

You can write in your blog, post in forums, on Facebook, and Instagram, and sometimes people respond, and sometimes you may just be word-vomiting into the great abyss.

You can hate your body, and love your body - often in the same day.

You can hate your family and love your family - often in the same minute.

You can laugh at yourself.  And at others, but at yourself above all.

You can feel sorry for yourself.  And sometimes, you do.  But mostly you don't.

You can overcome old fears.  You can find new ones.

The thing is, six years is nothing, and six years is forever.  It's both and neither and everything in between.

I miss my father.  I can't think of a day in six years where he hasn't come to mind.

Most of the time, I realize he suffered enough, and that's that.  I'm glad he didn't live to see the Trump presidency, his sister's death, the Coronavirus, either or my breaking points, or any of my diet fails.

But sometimes, I wish I could call and ask him just a few more questions, or what his opinion is of something, or someone.

A lot of times, the someone is me.  What would he think of my dog, my job, my writing, my curried chicken salad, how well I am taking care of Mom, how well I've adjusted without him.

But also - what about this presidency, the virus, and his sister?  What about everything you have missed in the past six years?

But since I can't call him, tonight, I'll cook dinner - nothing special, because believe me, there's nothing special in the grocery store to be cooked.   I won't buy jewelry, or make donations, because the most worthy charity I can think of right now is the Allison Fund.  Dedicated to the survival and growth of all things Allison.

But I'll pet my dog, and I'll remember that he would not have wanted me to grieve a single day, let alone six years.  That's just the kind of guy he was.  But I'll miss him always.  That's just the kind of guy he was.