I probably shouldn’t have started my journal off so boldly, but this is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. There is so much that swirls around in my mind sometimes that I feel like I am going mad.
My father has been on my mind a lot lately. He passed quite a few years ago, but I honestly don’t think that I’ve allowed myself grieve his passing. He was literally my best friend. I could call him and cry to him about anything and he would cry with me. He would share laughs with me. One of the only people growing up that loved me without wanting anything but my love in return. I remember being absolutely mortified when he would pull out this picture of me and show it to people. It was the WORST picture of me. I look back now and it makes me smile because I know he did it because he was proud of me.
My father was a full blown alcoholic. His only downfall. A lot of people gave him grief about it. He did try to quit, but he refused to be locked up. They not only took away alcohol, they took away nicotine and caffeine. He couldn’t handle losing everything and he’d try to go it alone. The withdrawals were always too much for him. Not only that, he was desperately lonely. Nobody ever came to see him. He always said that when he died that people would come boohooing at his funeral, but where were they when he was alive. That is exactly what happened too. Alcohol was literally my fathers friend.
One morning on one of my many visits to see him, he came up to me and said “I have this lump on my neck, it’s been there for a bit and it’s starting to bother me..”. I placed my fingers on the side of his throat, almost like I was checking his pulse, and felt a very hard lump that didn’t move. My heart did a jump and I told him that he’d better get that checked. I hadn’t entered the medical field yet, but even then, I knew that wasn’t good. Two weeks later, he was diagnosed with cancer. One month later, he was operated on.
I walked in the hospital room and when I saw him laying in the bed, I grew faint. I looked like somebody had slit his throat. They had slit his throat and went up his chin. they had to remove part of his jaw bone, part of his tongue and some cheek muscle. They, of course, also had to put a tube in his stomach for feeding.
The rest of my fathers life was a living hell. A literal living hell. He loved watching cooking shows, and he could still watch them of course, but he could no longer eat. Watching them would be torture to him. He used to tell me all the things he dreamt of eating again. My father did radiation, but refused chemotherapy. I know it sounds odd, but he grew up in the Elvis era. He loved his hair. He was always combing it. He combed it just like Elvis. If you so much as touched it, he jumped for the comb in his pocket like he was in a shoot out in the wild west. He didn’t want to lose his hair. It may sound vain, and not many people will understand it, but my father didn’t have much. I understood him eve though every fiber in my body wanted to beg him to do it all.
The cancer came back quite rapidly. There wasn’t much more they could do but make him comfortable. It grew up his face and pushed his eye out to where it was bulging. He lost hearing in that side. I went there one day when he was still lucid and he stared off in the distance. Not at the tv, just into the distance. I didn’t interrupt that moment, I just watched him. Finally, he turned to me and said “I had the weirdest dream last night, darlin’. I was sitting here on the couch and there was a knock on the door. It was God. I asked him why all of this was happening and he said ‘You always said that if you could drink a beer, smoke a cigarette and sleep with a woman, you want to live. Well, you can do all of those things’..” he sat there and teared and then said “and I can do all those things.” It tore through my soul to see him hurt so bad. He really thought that he had written his karmic rules. What can you do to take that type of pain away?
My father passed about 6 months after that. Him and I always watched ghost shows and we had this thing, like Houdini had with his wife. They had a code to tell if there was really an afterlife. My father and I came up with a code that only him and I know, that way I would know it was him. I smile thinking of that. I have yet to hear it of course, but I do have it tattooed on me with a clover. He was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so I always associate clovers with him. He has only came to me in dreams a few times. Once the day of his funeral. I took a nap right after. He came rushing in my house and I was confused. I said “Dad?? Your alive??” He looked perfect. His face was normal. No cancer, no scars. He was crying and he ran over to me and grabbed my face and gave me a huge hug. Suddenly I was awake. I just started crying. It was at least four years before I dreamt of him again, I think because I wouldn’t let myself think of him often. I couldn’t. It hurt too bad. I had so much pain already in me and he was always my rock. I had no idea what to do anymore.
I’m slowly coming around. I was 24 when he passed I believe, I’m 35 now. I’m not even sure of the years. That is how disconnected I am with it. I am terrified of losing the memories though, so I am making myself go back there. I don’t want to really lose him forever. I was Daddy’s girl. I will always be daddy’s girl.