It was the oddest day. We kept looking round for him amongst the guests, enjoying himself. It was exactly the kind of party he enjoyed - a casual bbq hosted at his house in the sunshine with relatives and friends and wine from that lovely local winery down the road that does the good platters. When I looked for him, I was startled each time to lay eyes on two of his nephews, in their late 30s/early 40s. They look just like him.
I didn't cry much during the party, except with one of Dad's sisters and his brother. I wept after, with the realisation that I'd been to my father's fucking wake, that was it, he's never coming back again. Even now I expect him to walk in from the garage, or pull up on the tractor, or even be in the shitting hospital bed in the living room. But he's past tense now and it is brutal, bald.
The dust from the party has settled. W and I are the only guests remaining at my parents' house (my mother's house, singular possessive). We took back the party hire equipment yesterday and now what? It is raining. Life must start to go on without him, in the new era After Dad.