Saturday, February 20, 2010

why I don't like february. aka ten years ago today

sorry in advance for the melancholy, folks.

so, if you haven't caught on, or haven't been reading for a while, you might not know that I don't like february. I never really thought about the month as anything other than cold and the month o' valentine's day until ten years ago. And now, particularly on this day, I remember my father. and his passing.

I could write an entire novel full of unfortunate errors and well meaning actions and just plain old horrible recollections, but that's not the point. Dwelling on the past won't make it go away. Those wounds have scarred over and since scar tissue is even stronger than skin, I won't be breaking into them. I remember my dad as someone well-meaning and who wanted to do his best for his children, but didn't have the capacity to do it. And I'm certain the beginning early-onset Alzheimer's wasn't helpful. But I remember, and I KNOW that his heart was in the right place.

When he passed away he had already been kind of living on "borrowed time." During my senior year he got really really sick and was ultimately put on life support. I was his "next of kin" and therefore supposed to sign the papers to take him off. (he had a DNR and was put on a ventilator and I don't even know what else before they could ID him). Eighteen-year-olds should not have to make decisions like that. I waived my rights and transferred power to my Aunt Candi, who left him on despite his wishes. He got worse and was actually declared dead, but when they put him on the gurney his heart started beating again. He had a toe tag and everything. But he lived for a year and two months after that!

In January and February of 2000 my father had moved close to campus to "be near me." Except to me that really felt like "annoy the heck out of me." He would call. He would show up at the entrance to my dorm. He would get upset when I couldn't or wouldn't call him back. I met him for dinner a couple of times, always at a public place and always somewhere cheap because I would inevitably end up paying. We went to Wendy's a lot. When he passed away I'd seen him about three and a half weeks before, and we'd eaten at Wendy's. I made my boyfriend at the time come with me. He had called me four days earlier and I hadn't returned his call yet.

All this makes it sound like maybe I shouldn't miss him, and most of the time I just remember the good things and don't actually find myself wishing he was still here--I just wish I could've told him a few things. But sometimes I really, really do. The first time I ever genuinely wished he were still here with all my heart was when I got married before. It wasn't that I wanted him to walk me down the aisle or give a toast. I wanted him to dance. Because MAN could he cut a rug! When I was younger we used to hang out while he practiced. I will never hear "Old Time Rock and Roll" without thinking of him. Which perhaps as a little tribute, we'll have to play at our wedding reception. :) But anyway, when it came time for the father-daughter dance, I realized how much I wished my Daddy could've been there dancing with me. It still makes me tear up thinking of it.

Now, ten years later, I'm "officially" educated and a mortgage-payer and I've really come into my own, so to speak, and I feel like I see him all the time. I see him in my stubbornness, I see him in my loud nature, I see him in the way I can chat up a complete stranger.

and it makes me smile.

So I guess today I just wanted to remember my father, and be grateful for some of the traits he gave me (and remind myself that even the less desirable ones come in handy sometimes). And be thankful. Thankful that I knew him, thankful that I know he loved me the very best he could, and thankful for his influences in my life and the lessons he taught me. Like how it's my choice to be angry, I can't blame that one someone else. And how if you call yourself the same thing enough times you will become it (which is why he refused to allow Anna to call herself stupid). And how it's okay to be a little mean when you play the game, because though the "it's how you play the game" is totally the most important part, winning is pretty awesome. :)

I think I'll end on the positive note. and be thankful that february is almost over. :)


brooke knight said...

I know what you mean! Procreating has been the most recent thing to bring all those feelings and memories - both good and bad- of my parents back to me. I see my dad, especially, in Parker's expressions! It's good to remember, even when it's hard to.

Here's to March!

Jax said...

I almost text you this weekend.. just to send love. But then I didnt want to be that person who jarred your memory at a bad time when maybe you werent thinking about that date, ya know.. :( I'm in the same boat today as you know.. .. *le sigh* I'm ready for March... really ready... You've grown into such an amazing woman and your dad would be proud, girlie. And he'd love Matt. I didn't even know your dad and I can say that.. b/c well.. who wouldnt love you and Matt together?! :) Cheers to getting through the last week in February!

gurdas said...

You pulled some strings with this, Stumper. More power to you, you and Matt, and your photography.

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