six months gone…

September 7, 1931 ~ April 14, 2005
Seventy-three years, seven months
and seven days of life.

My dad has been gone for six months now. I find it hard to believe that I am still crying. Still crying for a man who wasn’t my most favorite person. Still crying for the man who hurt my mom. Still crying for the man who was such a bastard most of the time. Still crying for my daddy.

I wish it would stop now. I don’t want to cry for him anymore. I don’t want to remember anymore. I don’t want to see his little boy self in the days before he died. I don’t want to see his eyes wide with wonder at his inability to zip his own jacket…or hold a cup…or walk in a straight line.

In the few days before his death, my dad lost his coordination. He needed help with everything that involved moving. He could walk, just not straight. He was like a little child just learning how to control his muscles…instead he was an old man who was slowly losing the skills his little boy muscles had learned all those years ago.

It was hard to watch because he was completely aware of what was happening. My mom was in total denial and my dad was the one who said “It’s time. Hospice needs to come because I’m losing my coordination.” He held my mom’s hand while she cried and then told my aunt to call me so I could set it up.

We talked about wheels in the days before he died. Sounds silly huh? He wanted more wheels for his machinery in the garage. I told him Tim could get him some I was sure. He replied simply “I hope I’m here to use them.” The day before my dad left us, I was at the house with him. I walked into the living room where he sat and his eyes lit up at my arrival. He smiled and that was the last bit of recognition I had from him.

The rest of the day he sat in the chair and didn’t move. He was non-communicative. He was awake however he was not with us. Family and friends were in and out all day…saying their good-byes in whatever way they needed to. A nurse from hospice came and went after telling my aunt and me that she didn’t think he’d make it through the night. We didn’t tell my mom that.

The ear doctor called and said dad’s hearing aids were ready. I told him not to bother because dad was dying today and he wouldn’t be needing them where he was going. He called back a bit later and said “I’ll be happy to bring them out to your house.” We let him come. Interestingly enough, after the hearing aids were put in dad’s ears his face lit up one more time at being able to hear…and that was all. No one got any other reactions from him at all.

The house emptied and it got later and later. I finally decided I needed to go home. I’m not sure why I decided that now. I wish I had stayed. When I left, I hugged everyone but my dad. I didn’t tell him goodbye. I don’t know why I didn’t say it either and it still bothers me. When I got home, I fell into bed thinking I would be back there shortly, I just needed a bit of sleep. I woke to the alarm clock and was getting out of bed when the phone rang.

My aunt said sobbingly into the phone “Trace…he just left.” and I said “I’ll be right there.” It was 5:50 a.m. I never said goodbye.

I called my husband and said “You have to come home now, Dad just died.” I called work and said “My dad just died. I won’t be in until I have to be.” I dressed quickly and drove to my mom’s. I got there 20 minutes after my aunt called. My dad wasn’t even cold yet. My mom had just woke up and she was sobbing and sobbing. Dad had waited to leave until Mom fell asleep. His last act one of concern for her. How odd. I kissed his bald head, whispered goodbye dad and covered him up with the blanket he’d had with him.

The hospice folks arrived and the family arrived as well. In and out, in and out…it still stuns me the way people congregate when someone dies. The funeral home folks showed up and when I heard the stretcher being wheeled out I started to cry and shake…until one of my aunts shook my arm and said “Stop it right now. Do NOT cry. You have to be strong now.” I didn’t cry again while I was there but still wonder what was wrong with crying.

We went through all the hoopla involved…to the funeral home, pay for the services, mom paid for hers too…again I thought “how odd”. Home again, more people, food everywhere, numbness set in. Disbelief. Denial. Dontwanna. I didn’t sleep well for weeks and I’m not sure if my mom sleeps now. She called me three months ago and said “I’m ready for dad to come home now. He’s been gone a long time.”

Now it’s been even longer.

I remember the morning my mom and dad came to pick me up at my grandparent’s house…after their wedding night. It was the week before Christmas. I was 5. I heard them come into the house and ran around the corner in excitement. Dad picked me up and Mom kissed me. I said “Does this mean you’re my Daddy now?!” He adopted me two years later.

Not only did I get a dad…I got two sisters and a brother in the deal. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be let me tell you. I was so excited to have them and they were just jealous and mean because I lived with their dad and they didn’t. Now my sister is gone and so is my brother. The sister left will not have anything to do with me once my mom is gone I’m sure. That’s alot of grief for one person I’m thinking.

The picture above all these words was taken of my dad in 1992. My third baby was only a few weeks old and we were at a 25th anniversary celebration for one of my uncles. He always looked good in purple. Purple is my favorite color… that’s probably why I picked this picture today. The color of healing. Purple. Six months gone. My dad. Rough water…lots of it…all under the bridge now. I miss him. How odd.

Peace.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. What a moving and thoughtful and touching and sad entry. With some hope in it. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply

  2. Traci,
    my heart aches for you.
    going through all the emotions, thoughts, what ifs, it can drain your soul.
    I know it has only been 6 months for you and it will be a while before your heart settles into a more accepting place.
    time.
    it doesn’t make it go away but it does soothe the rawness of loss.
    many hugs,
    Karen

    Reply

  3. Traci my sweet and dear friend. This one was a particularly difficult read. But with love in my heart, I know it was a step toward wholeness. completion. forgiveness of self.

    I love you now more than ever.
    Lighty

    Reply

  4. you didn’t say goodbye cause you couldn’t.. it wasn’t time.. sounds like now is the time though…
    I don’t understand what is wrong with crying either.. just cause you cry doesn’t mean you aren’t strong.. I don’t get it..

    I am scared of the day when that day comes in my world.. I know that I won’t be strong.. crying or not.. I’m not ready.. I guess no one ever is..
    peace to you and yours

    Reply

  5. I don’t have a lot of words, just understanding. Hugs. {{{ )))

    Reply

  6. Hugs.

    My feelings for my own parents right now are so ambivalent. I know they’re not well and won’t be here much longer, but they seem to make so little effort to see or be with us I wonder how much effect their passing will really have on me.

    It makes me sad and angry that they’ve chosen their business over their children and grandchildren. Reading your words makes me realize that no matter how big of jerks they are I’m still going to miss them. I think I better email my mom…

    Thank you.

    Peace to you too

    Julie

    Reply

  7. Express your grief in any way you need to…cry…scream…just FEEL. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s appropriate or not appropriate. If you need to do it, it’s right for YOU.

    That was a poignant tribute to your father, and I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to say good bye. Maybe you just needed to do it your own way. I’m sure he knows.

    Reply

  8. there’s nothing wrong with crying…nothing at all. Funny how we both chose to talk about our dads, my last two posts were about my dad and his death. How odd. 🙂

    Reply

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