When I was younger, I leaned on you for guidance. Now you lean on my arm to merely walk the hallways outside of your room. You shuffle along, periodically asking me to walk you to the banister attached to the wall. A banister that supports your weight while you grit your teeth and lay your head against the wall, breathing with difficulty. I’m angry. I’m angry that a man as decent and selfless as you must undergo this merciless assault on your body and mind, that you must have the tired look of illness thrust upon you by the tumors in your lungs.
When I was younger, I thought you were sometimes long-winded. At the time, hastiness and the folly of youth sometimes took precedence over the patience and wisdom that accompanies time and experience. I would finish your sentences and rush to conclusions. I now find myself hanging onto your every word and speaking few. You talk of life and death, speaking softly of how proud you are of me, the trials I’ve overcome, and the man I am becoming. My heart shatters.
When I was younger, I knew nothing of the world. You’d traveled it extensively. Now there is a possibility that you may part with mine. I pray for the best yet my optimism contests with fear and anticipatory grief. A hollow wide and deep fills my heart. Only now do I truly understand the depth of sadness. Sadness is appropriately named and is therefore due no exaggeration, no prose because it is not a word, it is a feeling and I cannot escape it right now because I love you and the thought of you being anywhere but in my life rips me in two.
When I was younger, I needed a father like you. At the time, I didn’t always realize you were just what I needed but because you were there, I know I will be ok.