Thursday, December 9, 2010

four years ago.

four years ago I felt like my world came crashing down on me after one phone call...

I got a call from the police in my hometown telling me my father had died and my mother needed me to come home. The officer then gave the phone to my mom who was hysterical as she was the one that had found him. Even as I write this four years later I can remember the surreal feeling of this can't be happening to me - he was my rock, my friend, my parent - my daddy.

I don't think I cried until I was on the plane a few hours later heading to Florida. I numbly packed with the help of my graduate assistant who had recently lost a grandparent who was nice enough to remind me to pack pictures and things that would remind me of him. My boss came over and brought me breakfast and just sat with me and helped. I had the support of a lot of people that day and I know that I couldn't have made it without them. That day also taught me the power of kindness from strangers - the man sitting next to me on my flight to Charlotte gave me tissues and asked me questions about my father and his life as I finally just lost it and bawled on the airplane.

When I got off the plane I honestly don't remember crying at all in Florida[ though I'm sure I did]. My mother was in shambles - she was so hysterical when the police came to the house that they asked her if we had guns in the house (which we did as my dad had antique rifles and both my parents loved going to the shooting range) and they confiscated them in fear that she'd hurt herself.  She was not herself for the next week, month, year.  I felt that I needed to be strong for her and show her that we would be okay and I didn't grieve - I think that was my biggest mistake and my one piece of advice to anyone who has loved and lost - grieve, cry, let yourself feel sad - the to-do list can wait. 

My amazing best friend Lindi took off work and drove to Fort Lauderdale from Jacksonville, FL to be there with me and my mom. It one of the nicest and most selfless things anyone has ever done for me. While I was trying so hard to be my mom's rock - she was my rock. I was and still am so lucky and so blessed to have her as a friend and sister. My eyes are filled with tears as I think about how I just felt better by her being there - her prescence by nature is calming and soothing and it was just what I needed during that week.  Even today as I write this Lindi and I are talking on gchat and she's grounding me by reminding me [in her words] "its a date. you are allowed to miss him each and every day and to be upset about it any time... but today marks 4 years. and its only a measure...i know its tough, trust me on that. but its just a humanly created measure of time -a year, i love you" I must have done something right in the first 17 years of my life to meet Lindi and be lucky enough to have her as my best friend... [but that's a whole other post].

I felt a lot of things that week - but I think the hardest and easiest part about it all was that it was so unexpected. Selfishly, I was so angry that I didn't have a clue it was coming - my dad woke up just like any other day and went into his office to start up the computer and check email... then he just closed his eyes and died. We didn't do an autopsy - the EMTs said it was probably a heartattack or a stroke. So - yes, the selfish part of me was so angry that I didn't get a chance to prepare or tell him all the things I woulda/coulda/shoulda or ask him all those burning questions I had for me. But, in all honestly, the smallest part of me knew it was better that way. My father was a strong and proud man - he wouldn't have wanted to be sick or it to be drawn out. I found out after the fact when looking at his will that he had a DNR (do not resisitate) order drawn out. He died a strong man who could take care of himself and who will be remembered for his strength and not a sickness. That's what he would have wanted. I know that.

With all that being said, I would give anything for one more day, one more hug, one more laugh, one more lopsided grin and just one more moment with my daddy.

I could write about this for days and days but I know this post is long enough already and I really don't want to start crying at work so I'll just say thanks for reading this novel of a post and leave you with this quote that I used in my dad's eulogy -

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death” - Robert Fulghum
take the time today to love, for me - for my dad.


Kristin said...

bah! you're going to make me cry at work! my thoughts are with you, and i'm sure he's looking down on you and is so excited for your upcoming wedding :)

Nikki said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. He sounds like a wonderful man. You're right, it's good to grieve or else one day it will hit you like a ton of bricks.

I felt like I was crying while reading this but I'm so dehydrated from hot yoga nothing is coming out of my body!

By the way...little annahita is adorable.

jules said...

Sending warm thoughts your way. This was such a touching post. *hug*

Smart Ass Sara said...

Of course there is nothing I can say that you haven't heard a bunch of times before. But you know what? I'm glad he went the way he did- he didn't suffer. I would want to go that way too. AND if you look at yourself as being lucky enough to have an angel watching over you--- that might help. :) Big hugs to you my dear.

Tara, in 3 Parts said...

such a sad story :( thank you for being strong enough to share it! I'm going to make sure to give my dad a hug today :)

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