Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen:  A hero who has let you down.

That's my Dad!
My Dad is my hero.  He will always be my hero.  And he did let me down, but not in the sense of what most people would think.

My Dad lived his life the way I strive to everyday.  My father was fair.  He was honest - honest to a fault some would say.  He was strong - in his heart, his mind and his abilities to do anything.  He put himself through college, earning two degrees, while working and raising our family.  He was so smart - probably the smartest person I have ever known.  If my father didn't know how to do something he would read about it and teach himself to do it.  Auto repair, computers, bridge, golf. He was amazing.

If my father had a fault it was he smoked.  A lot.  Too much. [I know, I know one cigarette is too much, but the man SMOKED.]

After 40 years my father developed lung cancer.  He was diagnosed shortly after his 65th birthday in 2003.  He had several operations, but the cancer kept spreading.  As he grew weaker he kept telling us "No radiation, no chemo."  He had watched several friends die of this hideous disease and how they struggled through the treatments and he didn't want to suffer like he saw them do.  In September of that year he finally relented and agreed to radiation.  I took him to all his appointments - and as heartbreaking as those memories are - I mean, I was watching my father die - it was some of the best father- daughter time we have ever spent together.  He couldn't speak so well anymore, as the cancer had spread to his brain, but as I drove him around he would hold my hand and every once in a while he would blurt out a funny observation or thought.  I knew he was scared, we all were, but he tried to make it easier by still trying to be himself.

My father died in October of the same year he was diagnosed.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and wish that I could pick up the phone or drive over to the house just to hear his parting words once more.  Each time, as I was leaving, I would kiss him goodbye and say "I love you."  He would reply "Talk to you later." He wasn't big on all the mushy I-love-you kind of stuff, but those "Talk to you laters" meant exactly that - That he loved me and that was his way of telling me so.

Dad, I know you had to go and I am glad that you aren't in anymore pain, but why, why did you have to leave me so soon?

You let me down Dad and I miss you every single day.


Bouncin' Barb said...

Skippy....this was beautiful. If one person could read this and quit smoking it was so worth your writing it. I know how hard quitting smoking is. I know about the desire, addiction, etc. But a person a can stop. I'm so glad you had those times with your dad. You were so lucky and blessed for that.

Me...Uncensored said...

Thank you for sharing. Right now my mom is in AZ and I am in PA, she is dying from stage 5 pancreatic cancer and we have barely spoke in the last 5 years. I did go visit her in May, but she was still her usual self (she was very abusive to be my whole life) I just wish there was a chance in this lifetime for us to have a relationship.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Watching someone you love suffer is one of life's hardest moments. You did a beautiful job of conveying your love shared with your Dad. Good for your sweet self. The Olde Bagg

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I will be reading this to he who smokes ........

A wonderful tribute to your dad.

Jeannie said...

You were a lucky girl. Unfortunately, so many - most - in that generation smoked. It was the cool thing.

Expat From Hell said...

I just read the posting about your father, and then the Bring Your A Game. Damn. I am very humbled, and think I have found a new hero. Thanks for being out there, and for writing. EFH

Tessa said...

Skippy, you are a profound person and so truthful. Our heroes can let us down but we still have that unconditional love no matter what. You had some special moments with your dad and I know that there are many out there that would love to be able to experience them with their own dad/mom. I am one of them. Hold tight to those precious memories, God bless you!

Sandra said...

Ugh! Skippy! You're killing me here! Not literally. Emotionally though. I can't take this!
I'm sorry for your loss.
My dad was a heavy smoker too. Died at 54 of a massive heart attack. I guess it was a let-down. Isn't it funny though that our generation was so accepting of our parents smoking. Oh, of course we didn't like it, but we just knew we couldn't change that.
You're halfway done this excruciating 30 Days of Truth! It's not that I'm not enjoying it, it's just that I'm an emotional cripple. I hate getting in touch with my emotions. I tell you though, you make me cry, I'll kick your ass!

Calandreya said...

Your description of your father fit mine to a T, except for the cancer part. I had mine a few more years than you did, but just a couple. He was out riding his motorcycle one day and passed out. They life-flighted him to the nearest big city hospital and discovered he had a brain aneurism. That was the beginning of the end for him. I miss him constantly, but I feel like I let him down more than he did me.

*more hugs*

hed. said...

I can't post a thoughtful comment, because I'm crying :(

Hed hed down under

RV Vagabonds said...

I'm grateful our sons didn't pick up our(former)smoking habit but sorry we
exposed them to all those years of second hand smoke.

It's hard to reconcile missing someone so much with wanting to kick their a$$ at the same time for not taking care of themself.

word vert; synes. Synes, synes, everywhere are synes....(you're singing it now, aren't you?)

Barbara said...

I..Wow...I don't even know what to say. Thank you for sharing such a private part of your life. I must say this really struck a cord with me even though my father is still alive, he does have some medical issues and isn't doing what he needs to do to for a healthier life.

Oh and my dad doesn't do the 'I love you' thing either.

Yum Yucky said...

hugs and love to you, Skippy! I love how you honor your family with these beautiful posts.

Mrs4444 said...

My husband is a heavy smoker, and I've been working on him lately, telling him how much he's going to miss if he dies of lung cancer; I don't want to be a grandma by myself, and our kids would be so heartbroken that their dad wasn't there to grandparent their kids. It's working, apparently, because he has announced that he plans to quit by New Year's Day.

This was a beautiful post.

Stopping by by way of your funny comment on Dementia Woman's blog.