It has been one month since I saw my dad alive. One month since we last talked. One month since I saw the joy on my kids’ faces when they were playing with him. One month since I hugged him. And it has been one month since I “kicked him out of my house”, as my mom put it. Which, technically, I guess I did, but it wasn’t like that at all.
My parents had been on a little vacation to Biloxi earlier that week and got back home Sunday. We had their dogs. Bryce got sick that weekend so I asked my mom if she could come early Monday morning and stay with Bryce, since they had to come get the dogs anyway. They did. I didn’t see them in the morning because I was already at work when they got there, but when I got home Monday evening, I took one look at my dad and knew there was something terribly wrong. My mom said he had been having trouble breathing. One of his legs was severely swollen. He just looked like he felt horrible. I thought it was his heart. I tried to get him to go to the hospital right then and there, but he refused. He didn’t want to go to a hospital over here, and said he would go home and call his doctor in the morning. Well I was actually hoping he would reconsider on the way home and go to the hospital when he got home. So once the kids were in bed, I tried to get them to get going because it was already late and I knew he didn’t feel well. My mom has a habit of piddling and taking forever to get her stuff ready to go, so it was really her that I was kicking out. Not my dad. But yes, I did try to rush them. Not only did he feel like crap, I had stuff to do and didn’t want to be up all night. When they were finally ready to leave I gave my dad a hug and told him he felt warm. He kind of pushed me away and said “I’m fine.” I honestly think he knew then that he wasn’t.
I keep playing that night over and over in my head. I wish I had tried harder to get him to go to the hospital. If nothing else, I wish I would have hugged him longer. If I could go back, I would wrap my arms around that big ole guy and never let go. I would tell him how much I loved him. I would make sure he knew. Because right now, I'm afraid that he died thinking I didn’t care about him.
I don’t know if this is a normal part of the grief process, but I am feeling a lot of guilt right now. My dad’s health had been bad for years. It all started when his arthritis got so bad that he couldn’t work anymore, and it had gone downhill since then. He had spent the last several years in excruciating pain. Surgery didn’t help. Medication barely touched it. I didn’t realize it then so much, but looking back, I distanced myself from him in a way. Not physically…we saw each other all the time. But emotionally, I guess. It hurt me so bad to see him in all that pain. He was always so down on himself because he couldn’t do a lot of things. He was miserable. And I hated seeing him that way. So I guess I tried to shield myself from it. Which was selfish. I should have called him every day and let him complain to me. So what if it hurt me to hear it? He was hurting more. He even told my mom once that I didn’t care about him because I never called. He couldn’t have been further away from the truth. I didn’t call because I DID care about him, and it was tearing me up to see the condition he was in. I did try to call him, just not as often as I should have, and his phone was usually off when I did call.
My dad’s health problems caused a lot of anxiety for me, which sometimes caused me to be in a bad mood when they would come visit. My dad didn’t sleep much, so he would be up all hours of the night and then out in the kitchen making coffee before the sun was even up. It irritated me. It also irritated me that he would smoke and then hold my kids. There were some nights that I had to change Rylie’s pajamas before she went to bed because she smelled like smoke. Why did this stuff bother me? I have no idea. Who cares if he was up early? Big deal that I had to change Rylie’s pajamas. None of that should have mattered. I should have just let it all go. But I didn’t. And now I have to live with the guilt I feel over all of it. I don’t think this will ever get any better. I don’t see how it can.
I have had good days and bad days during this past month, but the last few have been bad. Very bad. I am OK when I am with the kids, but when I am alone, I’m not doing so well. I have cried all the way to work every day this week, spent my days at work on the verge of tears, and then cried myself to sleep at night. I can’t think about anything else but my dad. I miss him so much. I am hurting so bad right now. I love my dad more than I can even put into words, and I just hope that he knew that.
I was always Daddy's girl, and we had so many good times together. But for some reason, I can't seem to focus on the good times. I only seem to be focusing on regret. It has been one month since my world was turned upside down, and I don’t know how to get it back to being right side up.
Search this site