…as in biding his time, as in he’ll never, ever see his son again but he can hope. Joe can convince himself, from one borrowed breath to the next, that he will someday see his boy again. Isn’t that sad? The things we tell ourselves just so we can get off the mattress each morning. “Good morning Mama. One more day without you means one more day closer to you.” “Hey Daddy. I know you’re listening. Help me get this job today.” And on and on we go, interacting with the illusion of those we have lost. Leaning on these phantoms we’ve created because the reality of their goneness is much too blood-soaked to bear. I keep wondering what must Mr. Biden be feeling now, a week after burying his son? The fanfare of the televised memorial service has faded. Obama’s shiny eulogy has ended. The flag-draped coffin is underground. Teary eyes and mussed hair have gone home to another night of tv, another morning of Fruit Loops. And there he sits, bereft, only half his heart beating, missing Beau’s voice so bad his pores hurt. Trying to smile and keep it moving, but all the while knowing from now on each of his smiles will be half mast, a smoke screen between him and his public. Man. I hate death. I hate the period it places at the end of every life sentence. I hate how it subtracts good mothers from good kids. I hate the poems it writes, the tears it steals, the hearts it smashes into pieces too tiny to reassemble. I hate how it swims to us, even when we vow to escape its tentacles. So what do we do? We hang in there. We promise our departed aunts, the mourned next door neighbor, that we’ll leave the porch light on just in case they get tired of being away. We fix an extra plate. We go to work. We stay home. We endure. We, like Joe must, get good at moving through, chasing waterfalls, the stench of forever reeking from our skin like bad perfume.