Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I didn't go up to Michigan to his bedside. I visited him last summer and saw him daily for over a week. That was my goodbye, last year when he was still independent and living his life.
We didn't have the closest relationship so this is hard.
I guess it's always hard.
Immediately following my parents divorce Dad moved in with my step-mom and her four kids and married her. I was 10, my brother was 8. The 'kids' as my brother and I have always called them were between 6 and 10 and were all very cute and blonde to boot. Dad never called me his princess again, or so my mom said I cried to her as a hurt and angry 11 year old.
First we saw him on Saturdays, then every other Saturday and by the time I was 15 it was just birthdays and Christmas.
Then there was a family estrangement over a piece of property that got sold that my brother and I had a share in when I was 17.
I didn't see him again until my mid twenties.
During my adulthood I tried to stay in touch but it was hard when I moved to Florida. At first he came down to Naples once per year for business and worked down there and I would try to get down there for a long weekend. That was the early nineties and I was still single and childless.
When I was newly married in about the year 2000, Dad had a bad medical scare and I went up there and stayed by his bedside every day while he struggled out of a medically induced coma. He went home from the hospital after 3 weeks and was told not to smoke or drink anymore.
Despite the Cumadin he had been prescribed he went back to both drinking and smoking.
Since Jamie came to us in 2006 we visited him 3 times, first when she was 7 mos old; then again at three years old and last year when she was five.
All three times we had to 'visit him' in his bars he frequented. Last summer he had been recently diagnosed with cancer. And he had his daily routine down, First restaurant/bar at 11am for Eggs and Hashbrowns. (Same as I like.. Over Easy with Whole wheat toast) then on to the second place around 2 for a late lunch. Then on to the last place for dinner and drinks then home at 10 or so. We met him at the first and the last place for some conversation almost every day. Although we stayed at his house, I couldn't hang with him much at home as he chain-smoked and it bothers my asthma...as well as Mike and Jamie's asthma. So we huddled together in the bedroom when he returned at night, all three of us and the dog.
Last summer I kind of knew it was our last visit, in fact I told my step mom and my cousin that it may be the last time I see my dad.
When he went into the hospital the end of May I considered going up there. But how? I am in the middle of trying to get my real estate career going. Mike teaches high school and starts his day there at 6:45 am. What would I do about Jamie? She was still in Kindergarten but I could have taken her out of school...But then what? Take Jamie to the hospital every day? Find someone up there for her to be with?
So I didn't go.
I thought I was OK with that decision. But then he died. On Fathers Day. I cried a little on Sunday.
I cried a lot more today.
I loved my Dad.