Friday, September 22, 2006
Happy Birthday Daddy
My Daddy would be 65 today. I miss him. He was so full of life and energy. He loved being in a crowd. He told jokes. He made fun of me and my sister. He lived each day to its absolute fullest. He was a beautiful person. In 1980, he turned 39. (I was 15) We gave him an IZOD sweater. He made jokes about "shoving" 40. And then he added this phrase "if you guys don't kill me before I get there." This haunted me for years because tomorrow will be the 26th anniversary of his death.
I am still recovering from the whole story. I have celebrated his life here this month and it has been the most healing thing I have done. See I never really grieved fully.
The story ---
We took several first aid classes - he was a volunteer fireman - and we were very close. I don't panic in emergency situations, I tend to deal with the emergency get things under control and then fall apart. That has always been the case with me.
Dad and Mom had a fight the morning of the 23rd about a stray cat. That's her demon. Dad asked me to come with him that night. He, being the kind of person that he was, was going to work some part time stuff for a friend. They were putting a sprinkler system in a building and they were behind, so he was going to work that night and try to help them catch up. I had band practice and the boyfriend was going to pick me up and take me home, so I told him no. It wasn't ugly but I still have regrets about that.
Later that night, we were already in bed, but not really expecting him home yet. A car pulled into the driveway. It was Linda. The man Dad was helping had called her to come get us. They had been having problems with the welder all night and there had been an accident. You know its bad news when they come and get you. We drove the 45 minutes to the hospital where they took him and as we were coming in, I overheard the EMT say "if someone there had known CPR he would still be alive." Dad had been electrocuted by the equipment. You know what a 15 year old irrational mind did. I took it on myself that I had decided not to go with him and I knew CPR and if I had been there he would still be alive. Irrational thoughts - it was my fault.
Years of self destructive behavior, anorexia, too much drinking, I think I must have wanted to die too. Mother was immersed in her own process of mourning and really didn't notice how far out there I was.
It has taken me years to forgive. To forgive him for leaving us, to forgive an EMT who absent mindedly started my downhill spiral with a comment, to forgive my mom for not noticing, to forgive myself for all I was taking on as my fault. Rationally I know there was nothing I could have done. Its those d*&^ demons who haunted me for so long. Well now, I am slowly putting those demons to rest too. With a lot of hard work, some wonderful friends who have supported me, and a very special person who has held my hand and pushed me if I need it, who has picked me up over and over, who knows sometimes I really need to just laugh even if that is an inappropriate response at the time, I am healing. Funny, I didn't realise what a slow-learner I was.
I am sharing all this today, because I am out of town this weekend. Leaving right after work today. But for the very first time ever, I am not running away from it this year. I am ready to celebrate his life and although my girls will never know him, I can share the beauty of his person with them, instead of the ugliness I have about his death.
Happy birthday Daddy, I love you. I miss you.
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.