Saturday, June 18, 2005

Father's Day

So it's Father's Day again. Time seems to come and go so quickly these days. We had a family get-together tonight to celebrate. My grandfather was celebrated and two of my brothers who are now fathers themselves. And it was nice, but in the back of my mind the whole time, I am thinking to myself "I miss my Dad."

It's hard to be without him sometimes. Strange, considering we didn't communicate much in the last couple of years of his life. He moved to another city and wasted away his days. Punishing himself for all his mistakes.

The last time I saw my father he looked nothing like the man I once knew. He was gaunt, wrinkled and broken. Physically and emotionally. A severe stroke had left him without use of one arm, a drag of a leg and unable to speak properly. And yet, he still had people willing to sell him drugs and help him use them. On that last visit, I wasn't as nice to him as I should've been. I was so angry with him. I rushed to leave because of the shame of seeing what he had done to himself. I never knew that would be the last time I would see him.

My aunt called me to tell me he was gone on a Saturday morning. He had been staying alone in an efficiency apartment. No one had seen him for awhile. Finally one of his "friends" had the super let him in. And they found him. My Dad had been dead for two days. Two days. How pitiful is it to die and no one know or miss you for two days? His heart had stopped they said. I didn't ask questions. What good would that do?

I drove down that afternoon. My older brother and I had to go gather my dad's belongings. There was blood on the bed where my father had died.

My brother sobbed while my Mom and my husband stood by helplessly. My brother had an even more tumultous relationship with Dad than I had and the last time they had spoken was not pleasant. I hurt for him. I still do. He has recently become a father himself and he aches every day to not be able to share his experiences with Dad.

The rest of the weekend is a blur. My sister and youngest brother were now allowed to come to be with Dad even though they had not while he was alive because their Mother had ended her divorce from Dad very bitterly. My sister weeped, knowing that she would now never get to know the father she had always yearned for. That breaks my heart. We had a brief memorial service for him which the immediate family came to. None of his brothers even cried. Dad had burned a lot of bridges in the last few years of his life. I held it together throughout the whole weekend. Two days after coming home, I sat one night thinking after my husband went to bed. A song came on that my Dad had loved and I lost it. It finally hit me. I cried for hours. I cried how wrong the whole situation was. He was only 48 years old.

As I sit here and type this now, tears flow down my face. I have not fully written out the experiences of that weekend before. At one time, my Dad had a lot of love in him. He loved his children even though he wasn't good at showing it.

I try to focus on this. I try to focus on the really good times when I remember him laughing. Sometimes it comes easy. Other times, not so much. But I do know that I miss him terribly. If he were here today, I'd wrap my arms around him and squeeze him as tight as I could. I'd' tell him that I love him - no matter what. Something I should have done more often. And I'd ask him to sing for me again. I always loved to hear him sing.

Dad with my sister Nora Kate around 1988

Comments:
Wow. um. Wow. That's a hard thing to write about. Thanks for sharing it.
 
Sorry Crystal. If I remember correctly your brother looks alot like your Dad. Hope all is well now.
 
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