My dad passed away on June the 8th. Not too long ago. The day after my 45th birthday. It was totally unexpected but then I think death in general is quite unexpected even for those expecting it. He had fell and hit his head a couple days prior to ending up being flown by helicopter to a larger more equipped facility to have brain surgery to remove a hematoma from his brain. He was never the same after the surgery and never regained any functionality at all. He was a stubborn man and of course refused to go to the hospital until he was so bad that my sister had to call 911 to come pick him up by ambulance. The day he originally fell he had hit his head so hard that he had lost consciousness. That day I practically begged him to go to the hospital but like I said he refused. I told him that he could die in his sleep if he had a bleed on his brain from the fall but he told me that that wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Little did I know he was going to get his wish.
My dad had been sick for years. He had just gotten a fistula put in his arm this year because he was eventually going to have to have dialysis done because his kidneys were failing. For a long time he had refused to even do that but had given in when another nurse from his insurance company had told him he could live another ten years doing dialysis. Forget that his nurse daughter had already told him that but then he never listened to me anyway. So, he got the fistula put in but hadn’t had to start it yet. Then he had just recently had both eyes done to remove cataracts and was actually able to drive again. I’m not saying he didn’t drive anyway because he did even with probably being legally blind? You see my point with the stubbornness here?
I do miss my dad terribly. I didn’t think that I would. I know that probably sounds cold but we were never that close and we had a lot of bad blood between us over the course of my childhood and life in general. But he was my dad no matter. I just wasn’t expecting to actually miss him, I guess? I had a breakdown the other day and drank way too much and just cried and cried. I hadn’t been that emotional about it but I guess it just hit me a couple days before Father’s Day? It just knocked the wind out of my sails that day and I had a good cry which I think I really needed?
If you are a follower of my blog then I don’t have to tell you that mine and his relationship was never a good one. He wasn’t the best dad but he wasn’t the worst either. I mean, I have a lot to be thankful for. He did abuse me physically, mentally, emotionally but never sexually and I’m very thankful for that. I have always said that you can look around and find people who have had a lot worse life than you have. He was an excellent provider and a really hard worker most of his life. I can remember him working in the cotton mill and pulling seven 12 hour shifts. He always made sure that me and my sister were provided for. He was a good dad for the most part. He made some bad choices in his life of course we all do. I loved him very much even though we were not an affectionate family, ever. He never told us growing up that he loved us or hugged us or anything like that. I guess that’s why me and my sister are not in general, affectionate people ourselves? We weren’t raised that way. My dad never thought you were sick enough to go to a doctor. And God forbid you cry. Crying was not allowed. I think of Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own, when he says, “There’s no crying in baseball!”. Well, with my dad there was no crying in life. I remember when I was about 13 years old or so and I had went to a birthday party at the skating rink and I had fell and my foot ended up beside my ear. I’m pretty sure now that I’m a nurse that I tore the meniscus in my knee but I never went to a doctor. Even though my knee swelled to the point that it was the size of a cantaloupe and that was when I was a girl so that was pretty damn big. I showed my dad my knee and told him how bad it hurt but just like everything else he just looked at me and said, “It’ll be alright. Toughen up. You’re not a baby. It’ll heal before you get married.” And that was that. That was the way it was with everything with him. We learned to be tough or die. I still to this day don’t feel pain like other people. I have an incredibly high pain tolerance which my doctor says is to the point of being scary. She told me that if I thought I was hurting I may need to go to the emergency room because something was probably really bad wrong with me. Of course I don’t listen to that either, just like my dad. My sister is the same way. When she was 16 she fell out in the floor and was bleeding profusely and hadn’t said a word. She had had a miscarriage and almost died. She laughed all the way through delivering her daughter. Yes, she laughed through labor. Guess neither of us know how to show pain? Thanks to dad. His dad was probably the same with him though? My granddad was a very mean man and I’m sure my dads childhood was not any easier. He told me some things about his childhood that really messed me up mentally so I won’t even share those on here because believe me, I’m doing you a favor.
I miss my dad everyday and I don’t know if that will ever change. I did have the chance to tell him things that I had held onto for a long time. I got to tell him that I forgave him for everything and all the bad choices he had made because let’s face it folks, we all make bad choices in life. I got to tell him that I loved him, no matter what. I got to tell him that I never understood why he was so hard on me and not my sister but then in the same breath tell him that I was glad he was hard on me because I wouldn’t be where I am today if he hadn’t of been. I see the alternative in my sister. Believe me I’m better off. I knew however that my dad was going to die. I knew he was gone when he came out of surgery. I just knew by the look in his eyes. He was no longer in there. It was his time to go. I except that, no matter how hard it is.
I know my dad didn’t approve of me being gay but it upsets me that he never met the love of my life. He’ll never get to see me get married. He’ll not see me get my nurse practitioner license. He’ll never get to see a lot of things in my life. That part upsets me. Is he better off? Probably better off than he was, yes. Will I miss him always? Yes. Did I expect it all to end this way? No.
So what do I have to thank my dad for? Well, my awkward, morbid, dark, verging on psychotic sense of humor, I owe to him. My never say quit attitude, I owe to him. A strong work ethic, I owe to him. Never giving up on a relationship, I owe to him. My toughness, I owe to him. My strange views on religion and God, I owe to him. My stubbornness, I owe to him. My intelligence and love of learning, I owe to him. My random useless facts that I throw out there in the middle of a conversation, I owe to him. My nerdiness, I owe to him. I owe a lot of my personality and who I am to him. I have dyslexia, just like he did. I’m as blunt as they come sometimes, just like him. But there were so many things that I admired about my dad. He never walked away from his kids. He worked all the time. He always provided for us and he never got a dime in child support from my mom. He may not have told us he loved us all the time but he proved he did everyday. He was all in all not such a bad man. I owe my love of cars, especially classic cars to him. He was my dad and he will always be a part of me. He will always live on in my heart. His memory will be honored every time I speak of him. My dad wasn’t perfect but he was my dad and that’s all that matters. We take what life gives us and it makes us into the people we are. I wouldn’t be who I am without him and for that I thank him. He will be missed but he will never be forgotten.