Some of you may or may not know that I decided to name my blog 10thirteen, in memory of my father who passed away on October 13, 2010. Last Saturday was the second anniversary of his death and I still can’t believe he’s been gone 2 years. I hardly ever talk about anything even remotely related to my feelings about this loss, but with the anniversary being last week and the promise to open up more in our happy hour conversations, I decided to bare my soul some and write this post.
The year 2010 started off great. I wasn’t fully satisfied with my job, but I was enrolled in school and pursuing my MBA – which made me so much more confident and excited about my job prospects when I finished school. I had just purchased my first house and was having a blast decorating and doing a few small renovations here and there. And then, towards the end of the summer of 2010 everything came crashing down. The news that my dad was sick came as such a surprise. I knew he had battled prostate cancer when I was much, much younger and I didn’t really remember much of that. He never talked about being sick again or his cancer coming back – for months he went to radiation treatments alone – we only found out he was sick again after he became too sick and in too much pain to stay at home alone.
Even then it didn’t hit me that my dad was dying. I thought we would seek treatment, maybe do chemo or radiation, we would fight the cancer and get through this together. It didn’t become apparent to me until about a month after finding out that our fight was already lost. I accompanied my dad to his doctor’s appointment one day in which the doctor talked to us both about getting hospice care. Once we got home from the appointment and he was settled and resting I bawled like a baby. And that was one of the only times I ever cried. You see, I’m an only child, my parents are divorced and my dad never remarried which meant basically all the choices regarding his care and the affairs of his estate were left up to me. My dad did have a sister, one of his remaining siblings, and even with all of her help everything was still so overwhelming. I can’t even begin to describe the pain you feel watching someone you love suffer and not being able to do anything about it. To this day, the memories of that time haunt me. To a little girl, a dad always is the picture of strength. This frail, weak, and gaunt man wasn’t the father that I knew. His mind deteriorated just as much as his body did and in a matter or weeks he went from acting like a borderline crazy Alzheimer’s patient, to a completely comatose state. His hospice nurses kept him comfortable and administered morphine for pain and assured us it wouldn’t be long before his suffering was over.
And they were right. Literally within 3 months he was gone. The entire family gathered as we waited for him to make his final journey away from this earth. For 2 days we all gathered in my aunt’s home where we were taking care of him and took turns saying our final goodbyes. So typical of my dad – he waited until a morning when there was a rare moment everyone had emptied the home, and he passed away. Stubborn in life and stubborn in death. Even after he passed I didn’t allow myself to cry or really grieve. There was too much to take care of – planning the funeral arrangements, lawyer visits, paying all of the bills, handling the final estate, and so, so much more. Everything seemed like this whirlwind that I was just trapped in. So now, here I am 2 years later sharing all of this with you. Everything’s finally calmed down enough to where I can process what happened and allow myself a little room to grieve. I’ve only been to the gravesite 2 times as I just can’t bare to face it. I often think about everything that he won’t get a chance to see and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been robbed in a way. He won’t ever get to walk me down the aisle, meet my kids and his grandchildren, he didn’t get to see me walk across the stage with my MBA. But I’m sure that he’s watching over me. And on days when I need a little comfort, I can rest assured in knowing that.
So there you have it. The story behind the title of this blog. And as I write this tears are streaming down my face. I hope he knows how much I miss him, how much I love him, and above all I hope and pray each day that I am making him proud. I’ll carry the memories of him in my heart forever. Dad, this post is for you.