From I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up...
10 years ago today was arguably the hardest day in my life. Right about now, I was busy calling people and letting them know that my father had passed away. I had gotten a call around 3 am from my uncle saying that my dad was in the hospital and that we should go over right away. Now, I have always been upfront about my dad, his battle with alcoholism, and his eventual the time, hospital visits were almost like common place for me...the intensive & critical care units being not as "big of a deal" since he was always in and out of them. I'm sure a big part of my nonchalance was the frustration and anger of having to "deal" with this alcoholism and how it made me grow up way too early. (NOTE: Dad's alcoholism made him more of a depressed personality and never, EVER violent in any way)

I remember hanging up the phone (my sister and my mom had both answered as parents were divorced by then) and thinking that something was a bit weird that we'd be called to go to the hospital immediately. My sister was really worried and I was trying to take it in stride. As soon as we arrived in the hospital where we were both born, my grandfathered died, and where my first child would eventually be born, my uncles pulled us into a room to explain what had happened and what was going on.

My father was living with my grandmother. He had an awful cough...smoking probably didn't help things at all. During the night, my grandmother hadn't heard him coughing at all and decided to check on him. After all, my dad was her baby AND her watching him tumble through this downward spiral was heartwrenching for her. She found him unresponsive and called my uncle and then 911 was called. After resuscitating his heart with a dose of epinephrine, they got his heart pumping again. By this point in the story, I knew what I knew. My father was dead and his heart was pumping because a hormone was injected into it to jump start it.

We were able to say goodbye and then I eventually chose to stay in the room with him as they removed all the machines and personal items from him. There was so much regret filled in the 4 hours at that hospital. So much I didn't say, so much I wanted to, and so much that I wanted to take back. Our last conversation was me yelling at him for not being able to stop drinking but with it ending with me saying "I love you"...something that was hard for me to say since I had so many hard feelings against him. Outside the room, my uncles embraced each other...something HIGHLY uncharacteristic of my dad's family as he was the only one who was affectionate.

My dad, the black sheep of the family. The alcoholic, Ivy Leaguer, funny, silly, generous, raunchy, Southern, outspoken, defender of rights, loving, caring, and unforgettable personality. My kids and husband have missed out on such an amazing person who, despite not being able to fight such a horrible disease, still influences my life in so many positive ways.

I know my dad is watching over me and my sister and our families. I know he's proud of the men we married and the kids we have (or are about to have). I know he knows that I love him and miss him dearly.

From I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up...


Ben Lau said...

Thanks for sharing :)

Ellyn said...

Beautifully written.

Liza said...

fathers have such a deep impact on their daughters. i'm sorry to hear about his illness and consequent death.

thank you for sharing this story.

pheak-pheak said...

this is a really beautiful post. thanks for sharing.