Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dad

Dad..?

I sit in a Hospice room next to my father. Just like a million daughters before me. But I haven’t spoken to my dad in years. Haven’t seen him in about ten. I do not want to be here. I left my kids and my home and my work in Florida. But they told me he was asking for me. So I came. I speak to him, hold his hand, feed him his dinner, adjust the oxygen, tell him about my kids and life. He never really seems to take in that it is me. I could be anyone.
Yet…here I sit.

Dad…?

My father is a sweet man. He had A TERRIBLE CHILDHOOD. Crap I do not even want to think about-terrible. He had dreams that never came true and found a woman who loved him just like his mother-through manipulation, guilt and obsession. He chose her over us-not meaning to, but he just didn’t know how not to do that. He lost his not-nice father very young and his mother lost her mind and he never really knew how to be a dad. Explanation-not an excuse.
Yet…here I sit.

Dad…?

People who don’t matter are making my brothers and sister crazy. There is drama and tears and self serving insanity and all sorts of shit that really is not OK when someone is dying. Dying should be peaceful-especially when you know it is coming. Get your shit together people. Put aside your anger at the world. We can dissect the why he made those choices after he is dead. Save your “Your Dad has been trying to tell you something for 20 years-Listen to him.” What the hell? Who are you? He knew where I was…breathe…let it go….
Yet, here I sit.

Dad…?

Strangers have been taking care of him and my step-mother for years. That’s OK. I didn’t want to do it. I am not good with crazy bullshit. I distanced myself because of my grandmother first, then because of my stepmother, then I moved away and physically distanced myself from the crazy-I never wanted to distance myself from my Dad, but I made that choice. OK, so…A couple of these strangers have his health power of attorney, signed as daughter and son-in-law. Really? Did you move 5 times before you were 10? Did the bankruptcy people take all your stuff? Did your parents divorce because your mom was sick of the never enough dreams and reality was easier to deal with if his dreams went to live somewhere else? REALLY? Screw all of you...stop...let it go...it doesn't matter...
Yet…here I sit.

Dad…?

All I want is for him to have peace. Peace and quiet he did not have in his life. I want the crazy folks to leave him alone. Quit making demands of him-take care of us, you need to, why can't you, why didn't you.... Just let him be. “Terminal Agitation”. He was going through all the motion of his regular work day. Making change, stocking his truck, even sneaking a snack. It was funny! People mistook it for fear or anger and it agitated THEM...he was just finishing up the business of living so he could take off at the end of the day. He would do it if we are here or not.
Yet…here I sit.

Dad…?

I sit next to him on a bright Ohio spring morning. I have my feet up reading a book and he is tranquil next to me. His truck is stocked, his customers taken care of. We are alone…quiet…serene. Just the two of us. He makes a sound like he is crying and I look over…

Dad…?

He has a tear falling down his cheek, eyes closed…

Dad..?

He exhales slowly…

Dad..?

He never inhales.

Dad…?

Daddy...?

Daddy…

5 comments:

Peggy said...

Heartbreaking! I hope both you and your father find peace.

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Whatever said...

I talked to you when you were up there...but for some reason I missed this blog posting and just read it this morning. I sat here...almost stunned by your words. This was a very moving piece of your work and I am sorry that you had to go through it.

Dave Meister said...

I lost my father some five years ago. Somehow, reading this made it ok to cry about his death.... which I had not done until today. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for helping me deal with mine.

laura said...

What a brave and honest post.