Sunday, November 1, 2015

An Unforgettable Father

The nightmares have calmed some over the past 20 years, but tonight's had all the feelings come crawling back; down on its hands and knees begging me not to forget.

As if I ever could.

You're my father. You raised me. I will never let you go.

Events took place that lead up to your death and I'm sorry for that. I was a teenager who just had a baby, when I was still just a baby myself.

You grew sick.

Sicker than anyone anticipated.

I'll always regret not visiting you more than once during the time you were hospitalized.

Who would have ever thought you weren't going to walk out of there?

Somehow you always made it through. You were always you. Always kept going no matter the situation you were dealt. And man, were you ever dealt a shitty hand.

We'd been through years of tough times, our blended families that were never meant to become one.

In the end though, my memories of you will never fade. They're such positive recollections. I don't ever sit here and dwell on the shit you and my mother went through. You both had just suffered terrible losses in your lives and looked to each other for comfort in all the wrong places.

Nothing but good prevails in my memory of you...

The birthday barbecues, Sunday dinners, peaking under my bedroom door to look for the light on in the dining room that signaled you were home from (night-shift) work, learning how to bake and decorate cakes...remember how mad you would get when you couldn't get the roses to come off that damn pin the right way so they would lay properly on top of the buttercream frosting you brought home? I can still hear you cursing at it and to this day. You and your stubbornness not giving up until you perfected at least one. Man you made me laugh.

You were the world's greatest pizza maker. I remember taking the mozzarella and hiding from you so I could snack on half of it. Somehow you managed to make sure the pizza still turned out perfectly.

To this day, I can't replicate your Sunday sauce. I'm a damn good cook but some things shouldn't be replicated, I guess. Remember that time you were layering your lasagna on Christmas morning. You were burning the hell out of your hands on the hot pasta and layering away. I looked on in envy. We snacked on the ground beef and sausage when nobody was looking. You were so proud of your creation and then my smart-ass pointed to the bowl of ricotta wondering if you were supposed to use it. You were mad at first, having to take the whole thing apart and start again. I managed to make you smile anyway, by taking a handful of that freshly shredded mozz and shoving it in my mouth.

I'll never forget you.

My sons never get tired of hearing the same stories year after year.

Please stop haunting me this way though. It's so difficult to recover from as I get older. It's 1:30 in the morning and I'm having trouble letting it go this time.

I'm sorry if I failed you by not coming back to see you. I'm sorry I didn't help you get up and walk out of the hospital the night I did come, when you mouthed Help Me and I couldn't. You needed to heal. You needed to get out of there and be my dad and a grandfather to my newborn son.

My kids will never know the feeling of being woken at 4 in the morning to be dragged out for a day of fishing and crabbing. Each of us taking turns pulling that giant channel net into the water to catch as many critters as possible while the rest of us were parked up on the beach getting the shit bit out of us by horseflies.

They'll still know you though because of my memories.

I'll never stop telling your stories.

2 comments:

  1. Oh this made me cry. It was almost like i could have written it myself. I am constantly haunted by that day. The sound of the machine flatlining, waiting for it to blip, the sound that came out of his mouth every time they did a chest compression, hearing myself screaming that I loved him and he couldn't leave yet, telling the doctor that it was okay to stop CPR, after 29 minutes, I knew he'd never be the man I knew and loved, having to tell my mom and my brother that our world had just been turned upside down.

    I cry every time I make meatballs. We used to have meatball wars to see which Brandon liked better, sometimes mine, sometimes his. Our first winter without him, I found myself crying in the middle of Home Depot because I didn't know what I needed to seal my windows and AC units for the winter, I'm convinced people thought I was crazy. I won't let Chris rearrange the living room, because that would mean moving things that he hung up, things he touched.

    Brandon remembers him best, but I am constantly saddened that Ryan and my 2 nephews will never truly know what a wonderful world it was with him here.

    Sometimes I yell at him that all the wrong in our lives now is his fault, that it would all be different had he still been here. But would it? I quietly think to myself that maybe he went in Ryan's place. Maybe I wouldn't have this little boy and I'd be grieving as a mother rather than a daughter.

    I can't imagine feeling like this for another 20, 30, 40 years. He loved me from the day I was born, but I loved him my entire life. I may cry when I tell his stories, but I will NEVER stop telling them and keeping him alive.

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  2. Kelly, I love you more now than I did 15 minutes ago, as if that were even possible. Our pain is heavy. The memories must be relived. Our kids will know them through us. They have to because these strong men are a part of us, which makes them part of our boys. I hold you close in my heart today.

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