Shields Up

Apart, you're amazing. Together, though, you four are unstoppable. 

My dad always says that about us kids. The four of us can do anything, he says, if we stick together as a team. Nothing is impossible. 

But some things are. We were faced with the impossible just a couple weeks ago. A lot of impossibles, actually. 

We lost someone in our family. My dad's partner got sick. We had a few hours' notice and then she was gone. That was the first impossible thing. 

The other impossibles came with what was left behind.

It seemed impossible to be without her. There were moments when we all would wonder, here is she? She must be running late again, before we remembered why we were there.  

It seemed impossible to find the right words to say. Especially to our dad. A lot of the time I just stayed quiet. 

My siblings seemed to not have any trouble finding their roles. My sister became the protector. She led our father through the motions; she had to remind him to eat, was his driver, stood beside him at the funeral home. 

My brother was the cook. He took our father's anger and multiplied it with his own and set to work. Baking, stirring, cooking anything and everything in sight, pouring his energy into the food as his outlet. Something over which he had total control. 

My oldest sister has the baby. Nothing can calm you like a baby. He certainly calmed her. When I couldn't seem to ebb the flow of bitter tears, her eyes remained dry. She took on a new strength as a mother. She had to remain resilient where we crumbled. She had to do it for the baby. 

I clung to my siblings' decisiveness, to their strengths. I didn't know what else to do. I had never seen my father cry, not like this. He was so tired. Angry. Sad. 

I knew I couldn't pinpoint his emotions like that. I knew my father wasn't just tired. He was exhausted, drained. He wasn't just angry. He was frustrated, furious. He wasn't just sad. He was empty, 

I didn't know how to help. There didn't seem to be anything I could do, but listen. Maybe that was all he needed from me. He had my siblings to keep him safe, to keep him fed, to keep him distracted. What could I do? 

I could listen. And I did. I tried to take his pain and lessen it. Each story, every word, when he spoke I could take them on my own shoulders, lift them from his.When I could do nothing else, I could listen. 

And tell. 

When the impossibles seem overwhelming, I can at least tell them to the world. So they don't seem quite so impossible anymore.