I have been having nightmares for maybe the last month. I think it’s been about a month. Not every night, but about five nights out of seven. It has made it really hard to sleep, because I become afraid of the nightmares and I don’t want to get sleepy: the nightmares always come just as I am falling asleep.

I took a nap today, and when I woke up afterwards, I knew what the nightmares were. They were taking down Ksymcia’s body. It seemed to have been my dad, in fact. It looks like him, anyway. I don’t have any internal sense like, “Oh, that’s my dad.” But it’s a man in a uniform that could have been his work uniform—it was a Monday in August, and he would have been working—and he looks like my dad.

The thing about it is that I didn’t want her body taken away from me. I didn’t think anyone was going to do anything good to it. I didn’t think anyone was going to give her a funeral or lay her to rest anywhere peaceful and I had this terribly keen, five-year-old sense that that is what needed to be done. So I screamed. I screamed and I fought someone, and they still took her body away from me.

They took her life from me, and they also took her dead body away. Even in death, they took her away from me. They took everything that could be taken.

I think this is coming back to me now not just because of her death anniversary a few weeks ago, but because I imagining a degree of permanence in life: a permanence at least that not everything can be taken away. Many things can, but not absolutely everything.

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