Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Dad died

Thanksgiving was lovely.
 
 
It still doesn't seem real...so maybe that's why I keep hearing my own voice in my head saying, "My Dad died." It's not my mom's voice telling me...like what actually happened. It's my own voice...repeating.
 
My Dad died.
 
It's like I need to remind myself that things have changed. That he's not here anymore.
 
My Dad died.
 
It's so different from losing the babies. It's definitely filled with more regret, anger, and...I don't know...unresolved feelings. I mean, my dad has always been there. He wasn't my most vocal cheerleader. He wasn't anyone's cheerleader. He didn't really use supportive words much. He wasn't warm and cuddly. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I can remember him saying "I love you." He wasn't open with his stories or life experiences. In fact, I think he subscribed to the belief that children should be seen and not heard. But he was always there. And now...there are just the words in my head...
 
My Dad died.
 
Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May of 2015. He did everything he could. He followed the doctors' advice. He was doing well. His numbers were good. Thanksgiving was lovely. It was all so normal. And then he got sick overnight with flulike symptoms. And then he went to the hospital. And then Saturday morning his heart stopped. And that was that.
 
My Dad died.
 
As a child, every night before bed, I would kiss him on the cheek and say, "Love you, Dad." And he would respond with "Uh-huh" or "goodnight" or "shape up." Now, with my own children, I am certain to say "I love you" first. I never want them to wonder, like I sometimes still do.
 
My Dad died.
 
I should have visited him more this summer. I was busy and he was grumpy. And he had a new dog to keep him busy. I don't think I sent a Father's Day card this year. But we saw Fourth of July fireworks together. And we went for lunch at the beginning of July to celebrate both Father's Day and Mom's birthday, like we did every year. But I can't remember...what were my last words to him? Did I kiss him goodbye? I should have gone to see him in the hospital that last day. Instead, I went out for cheesecake and a strawberry daiquiri. I went and looked at art. And when I did go to the hospital I didn't go to his room because I didn't want him to be annoyed with me. I should have risked his annoyance. But I just thought he was sick.
 
I didn't think he was going to die.
 
Was he scared? Did he know he was dying? Why did he wait to go to the hospital? There aren't any answers, I know. He's just gone. And we have to figure out how we all fit together as a family without him being there. I don't know how to reconcile my own roles of mother and child so that they make sense in this. Christmas Eve was awful. Everyone smiled and did the best they could. But his recliner sat empty (nobody sat in it all day). Christmas day was awful. I couldn't bring myself to prepare his favorites...because he wasn't there.
 
My Dad died.
 
Notoriously hard to buy Christmas presents for, my Dad was the only one I had completed my shopping for by Thanksgiving. His beloved Cubs had won the World Series and I had the best gifts for him. I was ready. He would have loved them.
 
My Dad died.
 
And now my mom is alone. And I don't know what she needs. And the thought of her alone makes me sad. With the babies, I mourned for what could have been. But there weren't 45 years of memories to remind me of what I had lost...what I would never experience again. I think it makes me sadder. And angrier. The two of them did such a good job of building their own adventure together without me and my family...that I don't know how we fit...how we are supposed to fit. It feels like there is a piece missing.
 
My Dad died.
 
There have been quite a few pop culture icons to die this year. And people my age say they feel like their childhoods are disappearing. And I want to scream...
 
MY DAD DIED!

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