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Hearing Aid

Every day is different with grief.

Better, but not.

It was two weeks since my dad died and I had a rough day. I packed up my beach bag with a book and headed to the local pool. Hearing kids laughter while reading in the sun normally helps a day get better.

I rarely rent books from the library because I normally ruin them. I walked through the library to relax and a new release caught my eye. It was filled with short, funny stories. I picked up the book along with some others and went home. Here and there, I'd read a short story.

I pulled out my towel and the book and started reading. The story today was about a woman who was taking care of her elderly father. She lived six hours away and he lost his hearing aid.

I paused. I still had my dad's hearing aid batteries in my purse. He lost his hearing aid, too.

I kept reading.

She finds out her dad was hiding Scotch and snacks so his caretaker wouldn't notice them.

My dad was an alcoholic, and Scotch was his go-too.

I keep reading. She continues to take care of him that week and regresses into her teenage years. They argue about every topic possible. One morning they yell at each other about recycling. She goes out to her car in her pajamas to get away and listens to music. She remembers the fights they had when she was a teenager when she'd do this same thing. Just like the times before, she knew her dad would be waiting for her when she went back inside.

I argued with my dad constantly, especially his last two weeks of life. The conversation always ended with "I love you,".

The caretaker rolled her eyes when she arrived and handed her a coffee. She said she'd go inside and distract her dad with another controversial topic. She goes inside, but quickly runs outside in a panic. Her dad had died in those moments. The girl realizes now she'll be alone.

I was there when my dad died, and bantered with him up until his last moments. I don't think I'll ever forget the look in his eyes with pain, withdrawals, and sadness. I knew a dad of such strength and stubbornness.

Both of us thought our dads were invincible. Both of us lost our dads unexpectedly and thought we had forever.

I closed the book and cried. I felt a little less alone.

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