Friday, March 27, 2015

The Day My Life Was Forever Changed

I am not sure.  Maybe I have had the guts to put this down before.  Maybe not.  And if I am honest, it was more than just a "day" that changed my life.

I grew up in a very loving home.  I had a mom and dad who loved each other.  They were high school sweethearts.  And I had 2 younger sisters, and oh God... the pet.  We had 2 dogs, hamsters, birds and fish.  No wonder they wouldn't get us a pony.  lol 

Flash forward to February of 1989.  I was 11.  My sisters were, 9 and 6.  My father got sick.  He was sick for what seemed like forever to a kid, but in all honesty, it was probably more like 2 weeks or so.  I am talking not getting out of bed sick.  We thought he had a cold.  Then we thought possibly the flu.  It was time for him to get some serious help.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  He was standing on the landing in front of the front door in his blue robe and jammies.  My sisters and I all gathered around to hug him and love on him.  We were told he was going to the hospital to get better.  I remember hugging him and telling him good bye.  He replied, "Don't say good bye, say I love you".  I did.  That was the last time I ever say my father.

He went to the hospital and he did start to heal.  But just before his release he got a horrible headache.  That was it.  He ended up suffering a brain aneurysm.  He was hospitalized over a month.

I remember Easter that year.  It was March 26.  Easter Sunday.  All our family came to visit.  And I mean all our family.  We lived in Virginia at the time.  And our family from in state, out of state, and from Germany; all came.  I remember staring at his empty place at the supper table during Easter dinner.  It was the worst Easter dinner of all time.  Something wasn't right.  Everyone kept starring at that empty chair.  Something in the air wasn't right to me.

After supper, we all gathered at my house.  My mom had our priest come to the house to visit with us.  I remember him asking us if we had any questions after a short talk with him about God's love.  Then my mother called us over to her on the couch.  My entire family around.  I remember feeling so scared.  Something didn't feel right.  That's when she said, "This is probably the hardest thing a mother ever has to tell her children....".  I remember starting to tear up and shaking my head no.  I am not sure if I actually said "No, don't say it!" out loud or not.  But I know I was definitely thinking it.

She told us that the doctors said my dad wasn't doing ever going to come home again.  They didn't think he live through the following day.  Everything after that is kind of a blur.   I ran to room to cry for a few minutes.  Then I came out and confronted our priest.   "I have a question!  If God loves us so much, why is he killing my daddy!?"  He told me that God wasn't killing my dad.  But I didn't believe him.  And to be honest, I held on to that hate for a very long time.  But this isn't about that.

My father died the next day around 1 pm.

My life has never been the same.  He left behind a wife and 3 girls.  It was not one of those things where you knew it was coming and had time to kind of prepare for it.  He had a brain aneurysm and never recovered. 

I was 11 years old.

It's been 26 years today since he passed.  And I miss him all the time.  He taught me a lot.  He taught me how to start taking responsibility for myself, how to cook, how to shoot, and a lot of life lessons that I still carry with me to this day.    He got up and went to work at 3 a.m. so he was sure to be home by the time we all got out of school once mom got a job.  He adored my mother.  He loved her so very much.  And she him.  And he adored us kids.  I look at my children and am sad that they will never get the chance to know him.  He was an amazing guy.  He was hard working, loyal, funny, loving and everyone liked him.  He liked war movies, and country music, as well as watching Night Court and Cheers (Those were some great shows!!).  And every Saturday night, we ordered pizza and hoagies and watched Star Trek: The next generation.    He was man who made sacrifices for his family.  And as far as I knew, he never complained. 

Sometimes I can still smell his pipe......

It really and truly breaks my heart that my kids will never know him.  Man, he would have adored them so much.  It's not my wedding, or my sisters' weddings.... It's not all the death's since he would have helped us get through.... It's the kids.  That is what I regret.  That he and they never met, never had the chance to know one another or love each other.  Maybe one day, they'll meet in the life after this one.  That is my hope.

REST IN PEACE DADDY.  You may gone, but you are not forgotten.  You live in our hearts and memories.... always.  And I look forward to the day where we hug once more and say "I love you".