I Wish God Would Take the Sadness Off Me

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Dear Rob,

I know I sent you a letter just a few weeks ago about hanging with Zach and Caryn in Tampa, but I’ve come to realize how much I like writing to you. It feels slightly less insane than when I’m talking to you out loud. Those convos are incredibly one-sided since you never talk back to me! Which is kind of ironic because that’s all you ever did when you were alive. Now you’re as quiet as you were when you were a sullen teenager and gave us the silent treatment for days on end. Remember when you used to pull that crap? Good times.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy to speak to you out loud, but mostly I don’t. The crazy part may be that I believe you’re listening to me. You hardly ever listened to me when you were here, but perhaps that’s something that you’ve learned in being-dead school.

Being dead, what’s that like anyway? No joke, I really want to know. What do you do all day? Are there still such things as days or is there some other measurement of time in eternity? When we’re young we think we have all the time in the world. When we’re old we know that we don’t. But what about when you’re dead and in a whole new spirit world? My guess is that there’s no calendar for forever. I just hope that you’re keeping busy and staying out of trouble. I know, it’s strange that I’m still worrying about you at this late date, but that’s a hard habit to break.

I keep thinking how I’ll never see you again, at least until I die, which I don’t plan on doing anytime soon, so I hope that you don’t mind waiting a little bit longer. As much as I love you and want to hang, I’d rather be miserable missing you while staying alive than happy to see you and being dead. It’s nothing personal, which also kind of describes your current state of non-being.

It’s been close to five months since you left, and sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a long time ago and sometimes it feels like it never happened. And that’s when it’s the absolute worst. Every now and then, just for a few moments, I’ll think that you’re still here with us and when that warm bubble suddenly bursts, I get sick to my stomach and can feel the shock in my heart. It takes me right back to that terrible Thursday in February, just a few days after Groundhog Day. It’s actually a much more fucked-up version of Groundhog Day. That’s what grief is like—only without Bill Murray.

I’ve been missing you hard this week and I’m not sure why it feels so painful right now. It’s been June gloom inside of my head for months now. Maybe it’s because Maura is in New York and I’m all by myself or maybe it’s just that I wish you were still here. I always wish that. And yet I also understand why you did what you did. I really, really do and that makes me even sadder.

I wish there was something that made me feel less sad right now, but that something doesn’t exist. That something is you not being dead. Although full disclosure: There’s a good chance that I’d be sad if you were still here, just not as sad. Neither one of us can do anything about that anymore. That time has passed and so have you. You no longer wanted to be here, and it didn’t matter what we wanted.

You must have known how what you did was going to make us feel and yet you did it anyway because you were in so much pain and turmoil, and that makes me the saddest of all. It also just made me think of your quote from the first story I ever wrote about you: I wish God would take the sadness off me.

You said those words when you were seven years old and that God fuck made you wait another 21 years before he granted your wish! How can I ever believe in Him after this happened? It’s a good thing I never did. (Dude, if there really is a God, tell Him I didn’t mean anything by that “fuck” crack.)

I know I’m not saying anything new here. Sometimes I write in circles just to see where it leads. It might not lead anywhere, but maybe that’s where you are. Anywhere, everywhere and nowhere. Wherever you are sounds like a bunch of Beatles songs.

I feel like I’m drunk tonight, though I haven’t been drinking. You know I’m a lightweight and can’t drink more than two of anything. I remember telling you that a while back and you laughed, but who’s laughing now? Trick question! No one is laughing. We haven’t laughed in almost five months. You haven’t been here to make us laugh, and you not being here has only made us cry.

And that often makes me angry. I got angry at you plenty when you were alive, but now that you’re gone, I can’t stay angry at you for very long. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—I just miss you so damn much. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. Now and forever.

Right before I go to bed, I look at the photo of you that’s on the bedroom wall and remember when you were a little boy. Those are some of my best memories of you. I’d read you a bedtime story, give you a kiss and tuck you in for the night. “Goodnight, Rob,” I’d say, just like I’ve been saying out loud every night since Maura went to New York. And just like you did, I close my eyes and fall asleep.

In my dreams, we’re always together.

Love,

Dad

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