While I can remember that my father died on the same day Hiroshima suffered the first atomic weapon, the year it happened, however, tends to blur. It always feels like it was only a few months ago and that I’ve only now recently come out of the hazy shock of losing one’s parent. The anniversary of the bomb is a useful, selfish tether, sadly. If not for it, I would probably have an even more difficult time remembering anything exact from those awful few days. He died comfortably, quietly in the earliest hours of this morning, suffering the last literal gasps of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, after the slow decline from decades of emphysema. Knowing my father, it probably was one of the few things that could have done him in, that naval aviator who once guided nervous pilots toward storm-slick, pitching flight decks on jagged night-black seas. We each said our final goodbyes to him the night before. I remember key rooms of the hospice center clearly. On a hot Texas night, my family sat quietly in the cool dark in a kind of room where one waits and rests and mourns. And four years ago, my father died.
His death does not end, for me. I love and lament him. We are ever-trapped in our personal now. The future possesses a special meaninglessness in light of the eternal present. Perhaps that is the radicality of hope, that, for now, there is nothing. Barely a blur of memory. And there can only ever be.