All of my posts usually have some strong emotions in them…and it takes a lot out of me to put it all out in the open. But that’s what I do…and this may be one of the strongest I’ve ever written. It’s most certainly the most painful I’ve ever typed.
My dad died, September 18th. It was sudden to all of us, we wouldn’t have even known anything was wrong had some strange circumstances happened on Sunday. It’s a long story that I’m not going to go into at the moment. But someone wanted me to start asking questions…and when I did…I found out how sick my father really was.
It turns out that on Friday the 14th, my father was taken from jail and to a hospital nearby in Florida, for stomach pains. It was a ruptured appendix, and after surgery to try and remove it, he developed sepsis. The sepsis took over his body, shutting down his organs, and put him into a coma. His condition was so extreme that trying to start him on dialysis on Monday only worsened his condition. He was not expected to make it through the night Monday. Tuesday I got the call, as most of you have read, that it was just a matter of minutes, hours if we were lucky, until my dad passed away. I said my final goodbyes in a way that I never thought I would have to…and waited for the final call.
At 4:30 my aunt called…he was gone. My instant reaction was stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced. I had to pull my car over to the side of the road, and found myself curled up in the seat dry heaving. I couldn’t see straight, couldn’t breathe. All I could see was him handcuffed to that hospital bed…with no one there other than a prison guard. Even as I think about it now it makes me physically ill. It shouldn’t have happened like that…no matter what he’s done on this Earth…it should NOT have happened like that. Once I finally calmed down, I pulled down the mirror in the visor of my car to wipe my eyes. I didn’t think before I did it…and the restraining order I have on him fell into my lap. Something broke in me. Something completely snapped…and suddenly I was remarkably calm. Eerily calm.
My father has been sick, mentally and physically for a very long time. Something that I am very aware of. But this was not expected by any means. I had plans of going to Florida in 2 weeks to conquer my fears and go to his trial. Anyone who has been reading knows all about it, and the battle I’ve been fighting within myself. The things that my father has done over the years are indescribable. They are horrible, and he has hurt SO many people that I love dearly. He has hurt me more than I can even begin to explain. But he is my father. And now he’s dead.
I spent 14, almost 15 years with my father. Going through the old pictures from when I was little have been breaking my heart. Remembering when we went to the horse barn with a bag of carrots and apples…and he taught me how to feed them without getting my fingers bit off. Riding around in his old green MG convertible that the floor was rusting out of. Going on the boat or to the beach and spending hours in the sun and water. The hours he would spend playing his guitar and making up stupid songs like “Ant Highway” and “Down by the Bayou”. How I wish I could remember the words to those damn songs…
I would be lying to myself and to everyone else if I didn’t admit to having an EXTREME level of guilt right now. I’m sure my grandmother will be thrilled to know that…as I can tell how angry she is with me for not maintaining a relationship with my father. But while I feel the guilt, I know that I shouldn’t. What I’m fighting the most with is that he died alone. It kills me…and I can’t help but feel that I should have been there holding his hand. At the same time…I couldn’t be. It’s not my fault, it’s not something I did intentionally. This was incredibly sudden for everyone involved…and God knows that I would have been there if I could have been. I don’t feel guilty for not speaking to him…I don’t have to justify it. It was for my own safety and protection…and whether or not others understand that…I do. Sometimes you have no choice but to “love from a distance”…and a part of love is watching the people you care about make bad decisions. Sometimes there is just strictly nothing you can do. This was that kind of situation. I couldn’t change him, God knows I tried. But I couldn’t. The other half of it…is the last time I spoke to him. I don’t remember it specifically, we had a lot of horrible phone calls all very close to one another around that time…but I do know that it ended in a restraining order. I made the biggest mistake of my life in that phone call…and I didn’t tell my dad that I loved him. I’m not sure I’m ever going to recover from that. I said it when the nurse held the phone to his ear on Tuesday before he passed…but it wasn’t the same. It’s been haunting me in the back of my head for days…and it’s something I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for. No matter how mad you are at a loved one…there should NEVER be a reason you don’t tell them that you love them.
I am still calm. Nights are horrible. I can’t sleep to save my life, and once I do drift off I have nightmares and wake up in a panic. I cry…a lot. Certain songs have been really getting to me, and eating just leads to getting sick a matter of hours later. I feel like I’m walking around in a fog, nothing seems quite real. I’ve got a crazy weekend ahead…and then a week in Florida…but at the moment, I’m a walking contradiction. I’m feeling five thousand different emotions whirling around at lightning speed…but at the same time I feel nothing. I’m numb.
I don’t know if I’m in denial. Or maybe this is just the calm before the storm. I really don’t know. I WANT to feel something. I WANT to break down and cry. But nothing is happening. Sure, occasionally it kind of hits me and I get upset. At night for example, or during one of those songs. For the most part though…I’m way too calm. It scares me a little bit. It makes me wonder if I emotionally removed myself from the situation long ago…and will never feel anything. Am I that cold-hearted that I don’t care?
Clearly, I don’t have a clue. I’m mad…at the world randomly…and then I switch to being bouncy and smiley like I usually am. One minute I find comfort in all of the good in my dad (which I’ve been fighting to remember him by)…and the next I’m furious at the fact that he never gave enough of a damn to be there for his kids. That he said the horrible things he did to me, and physically/emotionally hurt me just to gain power.
Writing this has made me feel so sick to my stomach…maybe that’s why I’ve been avoiding feeling anything. I don’t want to process this. I don’t want to feel anything…because the feelings HURT. Hurt more than anything has ever hurt before. It’s a level of pain that I didn’t know even existed. I’ve said this a few times in the past few days…and it still amazes me how true it is…but this is honestly the worst thing that has happened in my life. The hardest thing I have ever faced...and I can only imagine it is the hardest thing I’ll face in my lifetime.
I have lost loved ones, people that were extremely close to my heart. I have lost a child. I have lost a spouse. Yet somehow…losing the person that hurt me more than anyone else ever could…is remarkably harder.
It’s strange to me that I posted the picture of my father on Saturday in a post titled “The last time”. I was talking about the last time I saw my father…and when I wrote it…I had NO idea what was going on. Little did I know that that that picture really WAS the last time I saw my father…forever. It’s strange how God tries to prepare you for things ahead of time…and how you don’t realize it until later.
I’m still mad at you…I can’t lie and say that I’m not. You hurt me…you hurt my family…and worst of all, you created a situation where my little sister has to grow up without a father. I’m mad that you wore your body out with drugs, and that you chose to do things that kept you on the run, and then locked in prison. I hate that you weren’t there for my graduation, that you’ve never for a second told me you were proud of me, and I’m angry that you will not have the chance to be there for my wedding. I hate that one day I have to explain to my children who their grandfather was…and I hate that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to tell them…or how I’m going to explain that there was good in you…even though I refused to be around you.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t there. I’m sorry that I didn’t end that last phone call with an “Even though I’m mad at you, I love you”. I’m sorry that I wasn’t the daughter you wanted me to be…and I’m sorry I couldn’t bring myself to support you while you were in jail.
A part of me always hoped that something miraculous would happen and we’d have a chance to fix things between us. Reality told me it wouldn’t happen…but I had some crazy hope that we could.
I don’t know where you are. I certainly hope heaven. It would bring a lot of relief to me if that were true…and there was some way I could know that you were. I’ve prayed for you every day for years. I hope those prayers worked somehow. I hope you had some kind of a chance to come to terms with everything happening to you before you passed.
But most of all…my biggest hope, is that you heard me on Tuesday. I really really hope you heard the words I said, and I hoped you believed them. I hope you know that when I say I love you…I mean it to the deepest ends that I possibly can. I love you SO much…and I hope that in your head I am always that bouncy little blonde haired, blue eyed, little girl with the crazy curls.
I hope you can see me now, and I hope that your head is clearer. I hope you’re proud, and I hope you realize how wrong you were about all the things you said I was.
I promise to see you in every sunset. I promise to show my kids, and your kids the waterfalls, the creeks, and all the hidden spots we used to go to. I promise to use the good and the bad I learned from you, to be a better parent to the children I hope to someday have. I promise to think of you every time I hear a guitar, and I promise to never stop finding comfort in music. But most of all…I promise to never stop loving you. Even when I’m mad and hurt…I promise that I will never forget how much I loved you.
I will always be your QOTHB and you will always be my KOTDW.
-Your bunny (only because I remember how much you loved to call me that)