Day 1106 I’m sorry dad 11 years later

10 02 2016

This year my dads death is probably harder than expected because six weeks ago my mom left us. What he taught me as come through my mind more and more each day as the days of my mom pass. Each year I write this, copy and paste and change it mostly for myself. I read to see where life changed or my feelings are different. I just know the last 6 months he was alive I appreciate those moments more now than ever. They were the hardest things I’ve heard from a man about a man. He was true, deep, vulnerable  and finally open. I hated the words but I needed to hear them. Rather than being able to absorb them at that moment I just filled myself with hate, and bitterness and then he was gone. He was so wise because he was broken and made more mistakes than a roomful of men could make. I appreciate the words I use now when I speak that came from him, the moments when I parent and blow it and here him say its okay. When I feel worthless and hear him say don’t get in the mouse trap of thoughts you can’t get out of. 11 years later I would tell him I’m sorry but thank you. You were not the broken, heartless, absent man I thought you were. I love you and I hope I’m making you and mom proud even through my struggles. Here is 3 years of writing about what the day brings to me. I hope it helps you and if not it helps me.

At 8:20 am tomorrow 11  years ago  my father passed away. Sorry if you have heard the story before but this helps me deal with it and maybe you can get something out of it. I had never been more embarrassed, disappointed, and down right sickened by a human in my life than my dad. My dad was taking 27 pills a day to stay alive. We had brought him home from the hospital about 5 weeks earlier so he could die at home. He had a variety of things wrong with him they said he died of COPD but you could have chosen 5 or 6 other things. They had given him morphine under the tongue 2 weeks before so it had been a while since I had seen him “normal”. My problems started in life at 10 when my dad said that it was time for me to be the man of the family and I wore that with a badge of honor. It is by far the worst thing anything can put on a little boy. I truly believed in my head my dad thought I could handle the pressure and that he took a step back and started the deterioration process. It’s not like he didn’t do anything but when I was 14 he became disabled and quit. I was so pissed. I m a fighter and I don’t quit and he left my mom and I to take care of him and my sister. I know he was sick and his body was failing him but he could have tried to do something. He made me a promise that if I graduated from college that he would be there and stand for me when they called my name. Well he did that in December of 1998. It was the last time I could say I was proud of him. He was there and then had to go to the car. He had to carry an oxygen tank with him but I know that day he was proud of me. AS the years went on I saw less of him. I was embarrassed and now I know I was really pissed at him. I saw the man he was becoming, he couldn’t take care of himself at all and my mother waited on him hand over fist. September 2004 I started my own business. I will never forget that day he said “( I m so proud you had the courage to do something I wouldn’t) I remember mumbling to myself yeah You could have and he wouldn’t have been so damn poor.

August 2004 my dad got the words you only have 6-9 months left to live. He started the I m sorry and started to bear his soul. He apologized to my mom and I heard  his words he was sorry and my mom waited 34 years to hear those words. He apologized to my sister and requested that she do a few things which she agreed. He then started his process with me. It took a full 5.5 months to get it all out. I learned things about him that I never knew. He was a great card player, a real sharp dresser. He owned bowling alleys and restaurants, he played with his close friend Buddy Holly in his band and some other things that I will keep to myself. At first I was so happy to hear all of this and then I became bitter that he would wait until he was gone and couldn’t do anything about it. His last words that he said to me were son I wish I was half the man you had become. It was the most powerful thing I have ever heard but it should have been me saying that to him.

The last time I saw my dad alive was February 4th 2005. They got him out of bed and sat him in his chair. He had no idea we were there but he did have enough to tell me he was proud of me. I sat in front of him and talked to him like nothing was wrong but knew it wouldn’t be long before he died. I left that night and hoped God would take him I wished for more than anything. He was a shell of a man, he was so sick and my mom deserved better. Thursday February 10 at 9:40 pm my mom called its time son. We had many false alarms but this time her voice said it was really happening. He asked my mom to go to the store and get him some juice. He knew what he was doing when she got back my dad was in a coma. I got there at 11:00 that night. It was the longest drive I had made from Denton to Cleburne.  I wanted to have something to say to calm everyone down when I got there but I didn’t. I gave my sister, my mom and the hospice nurse a hug and went into the bedroom. No matter how ready you think you are you’re not ready to see you parent laying there taking their last breaths . The nurse told me that he could hear me so talk to him but he wouldn’t respond. Probably since the first time since I was a baby I went in laid in my dads arm and didn’t say a word. I laid there about 2 hrs and nobody came in there. I guess they knew I needed my time. I talked to my dad about what I was doing in my business and how I struggled with being a dad and husband. I told him I was mad about him leaving me here but I would hold up to the end of the bargain of taking care of my mom and sister. I got up and let some other people who came by the house come by and pay their respects. I sat outside in the dark for about an hr. I just kept praying for God please take him. His lungs were filling with fluid so his breathing was like that of a drowning person. At 8:00 that morning his breaths became fewer and fewer. My mom and sister came and said goodbye and I laid next to him holding his hand. at 8:20 I heard his last breath. A very surreal moment happened and his warm body became cold and his spirit left. It was my last time that I had to be the man of the family with him there!!

December 7th 2011 I went to my father’s grave for the first time. I was going through counseling and all kinds of help try to find peace and that day in the cold, mud, and sleet I hit my knees at his tombstone. I told him I was sorry for all the things I said and would he please forgive me and I forgave him. At that moment I looked over my right shoulder to see who was grabbing my shoulder and it was the spirit of the Lord lifting the burden off of me that I had carried for 25 years. My life has never been the same. My life hit Rock Bottom but because of that simple act of forgiveness for a man who did the best he could with the knowledge he had I’m here today still a broken man but gluing it all back together. At the beginning of January this year took a trip to the Sequoia National Forest and saw the largest trees in the world. It was the most majestic and quite place I had ever been on earth. In the quite I heard my Father speak to me and tell me that he loved me and he was proud of me. I promise its worth the fight and struggle to get to a place of peace and forgiveness.


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