We buried our father today. Niko and I, with my son Joe in my arms, had come home to say our good-byes. I wanted so much for him to meet his grandson, for Joe to have a chance to know his grandfather, but, it wasn't meant to be. We stood there at our father's grave, among his friends, and despite the sadness we felt at his loss, we couldn't help but be touched by the love that those present felt for him.
My father's house is quiet now, both my brother and my son long ago gave into the sleep that I am still resisting. As I sit in my father's chair I can still feel his presence and it's hard not to believe that any minute the door will open there he'll be and I'll awake to find the news of his death was nothing more than some horrible dream.
Niko has decided to keep the house as our father left it, and I can't help but wonder if that's going to make things more difficult for him. There are so many memories here, reminders of those that have passed before him. That's always been the difference between Niko and I however, where I fled from the reminders, he drew them closer, clinging tightly to each as if they were pieces of a puzzle.
I wonder what traits Joe will embrace as he grows older, will he carry only what he sees in Abby and I or will I see some of my father in him? I think back on all we've been through, what we continue to go through even now, and I pray he is half as resilient as my father was. I pray that he will forever see the good in people instead of the bad. Most importantly, I pray that he will know that his greatest strength will always be found in family, and in times of trouble he should turn to them, not away from them. I only wish I had learned that sooner.