Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sigh, hard time of the year

As a little girl, my daddy was my favorite. When I was four, he had a kidney transplant. It was definitely a blessing. I really don't remember my childhood and if you ask me he's about the only thing that I remember. My dad was sick my entire life. He was always layed up in the bed because he was in so much pain from his kidneys. He called me his nurse, all I had to do was sit in the bed with him and talk to him about ANYTHING, and the supposedly made him feel better. Could have just been taking his mind off the pain, not really sure. I know I felt powerful being called a nurse, thinking that I was the only person that could make him feel better. I remember sitting in the kitchen with my mom and aunt Lyn and him calling me from the bedroom; he needed his nurse. When I was about 8, my parents got into a screaming match after a New Year's Eve party. I was 8 years old at an all adult New Year's Eve party because they couldn't find a baby sitter and they refused to miss the party. Finally when we were home the fight started. My mom was doing dishes and then went to the bathroom. While in the bathroom my dad walked in yelling about something. And then they went into the bedroom and started fighting. The roles in my family were very switched. My mom was a parks and recreation worker and could throw 50 lbs of chalk over her should like it was nothing. My dad was always sick, was a police officer, but worked at the desk because of his illness. So when they started fighting I was sitting in my bedroom which was at the opposite end of the hall of their bedroom, on my top bunk. I remember my mom falling back hitting her head on the corner of their tall dresser. I remember them rolling around in the hallway and I remember my mom screaming "Ali call 911, he's going to kill me". Next thing I knew I was off my bed jumping over the two of them and getting the phone. Being a police officer for 20 years everyone knew my dad. So when I called my "uncle" Bob answered the phone and he said they would be there shortly. I rode shotgun in the ambulance with my mom. But all I kept thinking about was my dad. My mom would be fine, but I wasn't so sure about my dad. I was the only one that could fix him and I wasn't allowed to be with him. "It's not fair," I kept thinking. "I don't want to be with her, I want to be with him, he's the one that needs me."

I remember being woken up by the host of that New Year's Eve party but I don't remember the rest of the night or the rest of the couple of days. When I got back to school from holiday break, I was the talk of, well everyone. The police officer that attacked his wife. They had no idea. I didn't care too much. It was all over the news.

I don't remember my dad leaving, but I do remember my mom wouldn't sleep in that bed. She slept on a futon that she still has that serves as the dog's bed now. I remember cleaning the blood out of the hallway carpet with my sister, and after it wouldn't completely come clean we just covered it with a rug. I remember staying at my grandma Sue's house to see my dad. That's where he stayed until he got a house. I remember the rooms in my house being rearranged. My mom took our bedroom (my sister and I) we took my oldest sister's room and I have no idea what my parent's room was used for for the longest. At night my sister would listen to Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle on repeat back when all we had were cassettes and it would take a minute for it to rewind, and she would cry herself to sleep. I don't know why she was crying I was his baby. He loved me the most, and I was the only one that I understood him.

Finally he moved into his own house, and my sister Lisa left and moved in with him, I didn't get the choice. I had to stay with my mom. She had a new boyfriend by then, she let me do whatever I wanted as long as I stayed out of her way. I would stay the night with her at her boyfriend's two room shack. He was disgusting and he had an overall death vibe going. Not that he was gothic, he was just depressing. He lived in darkness, he only came out at night, and his skin was decrepit, from all the medication (drugs) he took. I hated him, but I thought maybe this could work. If I was good maybe my parents would get back together. That never happened. Fred moved in. And I was put on lock down. I was not allowed out I had a very strict curfew.

That year my dad's other kidney failed (he was a big drinker) and he was put on steroids. I was back to being his nurse. I would go over there getting my every other weekend, just to be by myself. He was either at work, sick in the bed or at the bar. I remember one time I wanted to come over so badly but he told me he had to work. Later when my mom was feeling extra bitter she told me that he was really at the bar that entire weekend.

I would wake up at 5am on Saturday mornings to go sit with him at dialysis for hours, we would bring everyone their donuts. I knew all of their names and what their donut was. It was our little thing. Sundays we would cook dinner, pick the recipe out Sat night, pick the ingredients up Sunday morning and then cook it. Sometimes for just the two of us, sometimes my sisters came by. He would help me study. In the 5th grade we went over probably 800 words for my spelling bee. I got all the way to National's and lost on extinct. Did you know there is a c in extinct?? I didn't, well not at the time at least. I loved these years of my life. We would go on dates, to the movies he would get Swedish fish, I was never a fan and I would get Sour Patch we would get popcorn and icees.

We went on like this for 2 years. Best 2 years of my life.

My dad got a girlfriend who I really had mixed feelings about. I accepted her into my life, she didn't try to play too big of a role. Besides she came along with baggage of a son, and a crazy baby's daddy. I was not worried about her taking any kind of place.

Christmas 2000 came and went, we had a great time. I received all the presents I wanted and at 12 that was big. We always did Christmas Eve at my dad's Christmas day at my mom's.

Fred would try and do fatherly things. He would buy me a doll every Christmas, I hated them, I hated opening them. His mom loved dolls, not me, I don't care that you didn't have any kind of family life, don't interrupt mine. You don't belong here.

Well Christmas morning my dad dropped me off I remember getting out of his black lumina saying Bye, love you, hugging and kissing him, thanking him for all of my gifts. He had to work that day. I thought it was the coolest thing when my mom got those Angel's wings for dessert (I think that's what their called) so strange that this was the first and only year to get these. Oh no, I forgot that I had left my bedroom door open at my dad's so I called him but only got the answering machine, so I said "Hey dad, it's Ali, I left my bedroom door open, can you close it so Matthew doesn't go in there?" No I love you. No see you later. I remember waking up the next day walking around, the phone rang my mom answered it and as I put the angel wing in my mouth my mom dropped the phone. I knew I knew right then and there yesterday was the last day I would see my dad alive. I didn't need confirmation, I ran into my bed and cried I still had the food in my mouth, my throat was so constricted that I couldn't swallow, the whole time I cried for my dead father I had a cookie in my mouth. Finally twenty minutes later I was able to swallow. We got dressed and went to the hospital to see him. One look at him and I ran out. I vaguely remember the funeral. I know specifically that no one ever explained to me anything, no one ever said it was ok, no one ever hugged me. To this day it is hard to talk about. Dec 26 2010 it will have been 10 years. 10 years, at least 3650 thoughts and I'm still stuck here a 12 year old little girl that just lost her father.

He always told me, if you call just leave a message "Hey dad it's Ali, call me back love you". We are big on I love you's but the message I left for him didn't have one attached. I remember that whole day feeling like I should have said I love you. It was a strange feeling, and every now and then I get that feeling and I follow through with my instinct. To this day I don't know if he got my message. I don't know if the last thing he heard me say was I love you, or some random 12 year old concern about her things.

1 comment:

  1. Wow........I'm in tears reading this. All I keep thinking about is the countless times you spent at your Dad's side, talking, comforting, tending, nursing, keeping his mind on anything other than his discomfort, and I'm thinking that no Dad was ever more sure of his daughters love than yours. Hugs! He knew, probably more than anything else, he knew you loved/love him.