Gangsta Mittens
Words combined to express thoughts. Pictures displayed to convey emotion. Opening my brain to the world.

One year later…

This time last year I had just learned that my father had passed away. I was hurt, but I was fortunate enough to have found out when i was here in dc (i had just come back from San Fran to visit) and even more importantly, BJ was right there when my mom gave me the news on the phone. I was supposed to get into town and then take her to see him. So I called… dreading the trip because i knew it was going to be the last time i’d see him. She answered the phone and said “i have some bad news….” I lost it at that point, but I knew i had to ask or she wasn’t going to get it out and I wasn’t going to be able to start the grieving process. When she told me he was gone, my knees buckled. I felt weak and lightheaded. I felt angry because I had missed my chance to say goodbye. I felt lost… and then it passed.
It was strange really.. I took a deep breath… collected myself… and asked her what we needed to do. There would be plenty more tears over the next year, but overall I was always at peace with what happened.
Growing up my dad was always there for us. My parents were married for over 50 yrs. He went to every softball game, basketball game, play, dance recital, modeling/acting/dance/gymnastic/horseback riding class. He drove me up and down the streets on weekends to friends’ houses, dances, roller skating. He did it all. We butted heads often, but only because I’m as stubborn as he was. But we always knew he loved us. He was there smiling at every graduation/award ceremony/celebration.
My dad ultimately died of liver cancer, but he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for years before that. I remember the early stages with him struggling to get his thoughts together, which ultimately turned into paranoia and violent outbursts. Towards the end he had stopped eating. Possibly because he didn’t trust my mom or maybe it had something to do with the liver cancer. He was unable to communicate so we didn’t really know what was going on.
In true Kaiser Permanente fashion, they brushed off my mother’s calls and pleas for help. They said he wasn’t eating because he wasn’t hungry and to just give him some Ensure and he’d be fine. She begged to bring him in for observation. They told her they weren’t going to hospitalize him for not eating and that if she was tired perhaps someone could come over to help her. She said she would take him to the emergency room and they said they wouldn’t approve it.
By the time my mom took my dad to the hospital in early May last year he had gone two weeks without eating and was literally a shell of himself. The doctors took one look at him and admitted him. I was so relieved because i knew my mother had done all she could, but i also wanted to punch the nurse that asked why my mother hadn’t done something sooner in her face.
At any rate, I really don’t want to rehash my dad’s death. I was fortunate enough to talk with his brother and sister over the past year and I learned a lot about my dad that I might not have discovered otherwise. I learned that my dad was a very family oriented person. His somewhat chaotic upbringing led to his desire to keep us all together in one place and in as stable an environment as possible. We celebrated everyone’s birthday at my parents’ house every year. Never anything elaborate, but it was always there. There was actually a time when my dad would bake the cakes for the celebrations (i get my love of cooking from him).
I feel like it’s a cruel joke that the one year anniversary of my dad’s death is the day before labor day. Its not that I don’t want to think about my dad… but I just hate that i don’t seem to have a choice in the matter. Either way, I’m making the best of the day and this weekend. Gonna try to think of a couple of things my dad loved and do them. And get in a lot of studying. I didn’t get to graduate from law school in his life time, but passing the hardest bar exam in the country a little over a year after his death would be a nice little present from me to him.

I know a lot of folks don’t have the best relationships with their fathers. I realized that I was extremely blessed in that regard… but try to make sure you tell someone you love them and appreciate them at least once a day. I play the “gangsta” role (or at least i try to)…. but the reality is that none of us is promised to make it thru today, much less tomorrow. Tell the people you care about that you love them and don’t let negativity fester. Make shit right while you have the chance.

Enjoy your weekend.
Happy father’s day, Daddy. I miss you.

2 Responses to “One year later…”

  1. *hugs*

  2. and *Double hugs*

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