"Choosing trust over doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened." -Victoria Monfort

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It's All About My Dad...

It's April 1. 6 years ago today, my Dad died. I still don't think I ever accepted it. Silly as that sounds. Since he is gone, I rarely talk about him, but I think about him a lot, and this is all about him.

It was April, 2000. I was 24. I had borrowed a plumbing snake from my dad to snake Bubba's toilet. I just moved out on my own from my ex 'Z'. Dad came to see my apartment. A week later, I took his plumbing snake back to him. A week after that, he died.

I was on my way to Hilarities, for a fun night, to laugh, and hang with friends. I was meeting a guy I recently started seeing there. I was luckily with Bubba and her boyfriend when I got the call. It was my brother.

He told me that dad died. I laughed. I said "thats not funny." He told me, he wished he was kidding. I didn't cry. I was still in denial. I went to Bubba's, we didn't go to hilarities. I ended up being stood up by that guy anyways. (icing on the cake!) I got home, to a billion messages on my machine. People I hadn't talked to forever had called me, urging me to call them. No one was able to find me. That's, I knew it was true.

Dad wasn't sick. He was seemingly healthy. I had that year, started trying to make an effort to get to know my dad as an adult. We never had a close relationship, I always felt like a burdon. He didn't make me feel that way, I just had issues. He was always there for me when I needed him to be. I just had trouble asking. It ended up being that we only called him when we needed money, so I made it a point to call him just to talk. Or stop by, so he knew that I needed him for more than that. I think that is also why I have such a strong work ethic now. I always wanted to prove to my Dad how good I am.

The day it happened, Dad was helping stepmonster (I call her that cus she earned the title over the years...from St Elmo's Fire, classic flick) move furniture, after cutting the grass. They were getting ready for church, and he collapsed in the bathroom. Aneurysm. Hardening of the arteries. Bam. That fast. He had just had a physical, he was fine.

I didn't cry, until the calling hours. I didn't see or talk to him every day, so it was sort of like, any other day as long as I didn't see him. Then it all came out at once.

It's hard to see other people hurt. It's hard to hear people tell you that you are too young to lose your father. It's hard to hear that other people miss him too. I felt really bad for my brother, who you could tell wanted to cry, but didn't. He felt like he had to hold it together for his sisters, I know how he is.

What especially made me feel bad for my brother, was the flag.

My dad was in the navy. He was really, really proud of that. He went to reunions to keep in touch with the guys he was on the ships with. It was a big part of who he was. The wife, gets the flag. If my mother were still married to him, she would have gotten it.

Stepmonster, got the flag. My mom called her before the funeral to ask her if she would give it to my brother, and she wouldn't. Maybe if they had kids together, it would be different? But, no, we were his kids. She will move on, and find another man, but we will never find another Dad. My brother is the only son. He is the one who will carry on our name. He is the one who should have gotten the flag. When stepmonster dies, it's lost to us forever. Seeing them fold it up and hand it to her, was like a knife in the stomach.

Within 3 days of the funeral, she had called us to come get dads things. All of his stuff was piled into a bedroom. We had to go through everything. His kids. The ones who probably missed him more. She wanted nothing. She said what we didnt take, was being given away. We took as much as we could get, whether or not they seemed important, because thinking some stranger would have his things, was just depressing.

I've lost people. Grandparents. A best friend. Uncles. Your parent, is different. Their all hard, but their all different. You sort of feel orphaned. It made me that much more afraid to lose my Momma. In a way I think that was why she had to leave the state. I was really attached to her.

She moved away from us. That was really hard on me too, but it happened before my dad died. I think that it was a way for me to gain some independance. Count on yourself. In a sad way, it has worked.

Our time on this earth is short. I have a lot of beliefs about life after death, but that's another post. Everyone should cherish every minute they have here. You don't know when it will end. It is sad that it takes death to remind us of that. You might not have a tomorrow. Everyone says this, yet when you wake up in the morning, you still take things for granted.

The only happy thing about being married to my ex husband, is that at least I got to have my dad walk me down the aisle, even if it wasn't to the man I would spend my whole life with. I still have that memory.

For some reason, it was really important to me to get his praise, his approval. Maybe because I'm the baby and had the least time with him and Mom together? I worked really hard in school, so he would find my name in the paper for being student of the month, or being on the merit roll, so I got a good student discount on my insurance. He would cut these little recognitions out of the paper for me. I was in the band, in office for S.A.D.D., and Business Professionals of America (where I placed second in my region thank you -and went to state!).

My Dad was an alchoholic, which affects us all to this day in different ways. He was never abusive to me, but the knowledge that your dad gave up being 'a family' for alchohol, never goes away.

At my 20th birthday party, my drunk dad was going to get a ride home with my brother's friend. They came back inside in about 5 minutes to get my car keys. My dad refused to get into his Toyota. (Jap peice of crap he called it) He would ride home in my trusty cavalier though. He was big on American everything, and Ohio everything.

He loved the three stooges, and would laugh his butt off when he watched them.

What would you most like to hear from your father?

"I'm proud of you"

......and, that made me cry.

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