My dad was truly amazing. He was smart and kind. He was incredibly funny, but I didn’t really realize it until he was gone. He was that guy who built everything and helped all the neighbors with all their projects. He was an engineer. Recently I learned so much more about him, like how he was solely responsible for shutting down a possible leak in a bomb and how all the Air Force wives showed up at our house to be with my mom in case he died. He survived that. Eventually what took him was cancer. A slow and horrifying disease. If you have ever watched anyone die of cancer than you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, you have no idea. You can’t even fathom it. Instead of reliving all the gruesome details, because that actually isn’t healthy for me, I focus on his life and the love he shared. But recently I have been drawn back to the difficult holiday season in 2003, when I flew home overnight to be with my dad for the last 2 months of his life. This, it turns out, was the most powerful time I spent with him, even though he had no power at all.
I took the night shift so my mom could sleep. This gave me time alone with my dad, to talk and share stories. I told him things I never thought I would. He shared stories about his childhood and my grandpa being a spy. We laughed. When I cried, he said to me “Don’t be sad for me buddy, I lived a good life. Fight for the kids with cancer, they aren’t given the chance to fully live life.” When it came time for him to go to the hospital because he just couldn’t be at home anymore, I drove in the ambulance with him. I stayed the night with him. I was there when the Dr gave him 3 weeks. Granted, he sent me out of the room, but he eventually told me because to hold all that to oneself in that moment just isn’t okay. After that moment my mom never left his side. Well, once when we made her go home to rest and shower, but she never did again. Her love for my father was astounding. Theirs was a great love story that ended far too soon. We all spent the next month and a half in the hospital, by his bedside. Every day. Every night. Saying I love you, over and over, and it still wasn’t enough.
The pain of losing a father is unbearable. He was 59 years old. He would never walk me down the aisle, or meet my future babies. He wouldn’t be there to answer the one million questions I would have to ask. He wouldn’t randomly visit me in LA anymore. No more 3 am phone calls when he was getting ready for work and I was getting ready for bed. No more random phone calls that consisted of a single joke that would make him laugh so hard then he’d hang up. None of it. It was gone. And I had to still exist. I had to walk each day with people having no idea my heart and soul were utterly broken. I had to see people complain about nothing as if these tiny problems were of substance.
Life is actually joyful if you know the difference. To make the choice to live each day to the fullest. To live in the now, because tomorrow is unknown. Even in the worst moments, their was love and laughter. Even at my dads funeral, I had to laugh. We played his favorite music and out of nowhere the sound shot up, very loud. I believe it was Jimmy Buffet playing. Nobody was in the booth. The CD was normal, no sound issues. It happened twice. I fully believe it was my dad messing with us. Telling us not to be too serious and sad. I had to laugh, and I did, and it was wonderful.
This leads me to now. Today, Father’s Day. This past week. I have spoken to my dad quite a bit suddenly. I always reach out to him in moments of need. But this week has been full of emotions, for I have asked him to be there to welcome Bianka to Heaven. Bianka, a 5 year old beauty. Her mom calls her a butterfly, beauty dancing here on earth but only for a short time.
When I was 3 years old we moved to Maple Street and my family became best friends with the Kucelin and Blagdon families. This friendship has never wavered. We aren’t blood, but we are family. Aunts and Uncles. And it’s the Kucelin family that is living the nightmare right now. I am broken hearted for what they are going through, but they are living in the now, and loving every moment to the fullest, just as they should. So I have asked my dad for a miracle, and if that miracle isn’t possible, I have asked him to hold her close and protect her, welcome her and love her until her parents one day join her.
So dad, thank you for always being there for me on Earth, and always being there for me in Heaven. I know you walked me down the aisle, I see you’re spirit in my kids. I know you will keep Bianka safe. Thank you for being my dad, here now.
To follow Bianka’s story check out her Facebook page:
Or her mom’s blog: