My Daddy died at 5:00am on Thursday, September 20, 2012.
|Daddy, Bobby, and I - Christmas 1982|
It takes a talented man to play piano (by ear, couldn't read music, self taught), and the kazoo at the same time. He was probably wiggling his ears too. He was a man of many talents. This photo is the essence of our father.
Continued from Part 1.
September 6, 2012 - 8:30am
Kids first day of school. During the madness of braiding hair, adjusting jean waists, finding new shoes, and taking pictures, inside I am paralyzed with fear. My Daddy was barely alive all the way across the country...and my Mom was alone. My Mom and I had decided that I would take the first flight out the following day. I would be home for their first day of school, I had a day to process all that was happening and calm myself, and the ticket was half the price. Win/Win. I just prayed that he would hold on until I got there.
I tucked in my babies that night, gave them lots of extra hugs and kisses, and promised to call as much as I could. They were so strong, even my sensitive, precious girl. She put on a brave face, kissed me several times, and told me to take those to Grandpa but save a couple for me. Standing there in the dimly lit, very pink room, I could hardly believe the sweet girl snuggled in her bed was only 7. In some ways, she is wiser than I. I was proud. So. Damn. Proud.
September 7, 2012 - 3:30am
My dear sweet husband got up with me at this ungodly hour to put my luggage in the car, and hug and kiss me goodbye. I don't know what made this hug and kiss any different from the million others over the last 11 years, but it was different. It's like he sent all his strength and courage to me. He sent me off on my difficult journey loved and confident that I did not have a thing to worry about at home. He worked, took care of the kids, house, 3 cats, and our gargantuan dog. Damn, he is a good man. I couldn't have loved him more than I did at that moment.
I drove off, not playing my normal choice of music in this situation. You see, I am an emotional cutter when it comes to music. If I am sad, I saturate myself in the sadness because that is what feels normal to me.
As I approached the airport, I was belting out Aretha and demanding some "Respect" for about the 10th time. I felt like I was ready to take on anything....for an hour or so, anyway.
The flight seemed like it took days. I arrived in LA a little before noon and picked up my rental car. My Daddy had just gone in to have a stint put into his femoral artery. My Mom was waiting anxiously...alone.
The rental SUV boasted every feature known to man. What they don't tell you is that all of those features are disabled on most rentals. Fucking nice. If it wasn't for some free iPhone navigation app, I would have been lost in Beverly Hills for the remainder of the day. I mean, does ANYONE have a Thomas Guide anymore?!
Finally, at the hospital. Rock star parking, right in front. That has GOT to be a good sign, right?! I am usually the chick walking through the parking garage, furiously clicking the panic button on the remote to find my car.
Cedars Sinai is HUGE. HUGE HUGE HUGE. Holy crap, how will I find my Mom?! Turns out, with the limited information I had, there were signs everywhere. I found the waiting room in no time. Turns out I was in the wrong waiting room but, eventually my Mom found me. We hugged for a long time. I felt strength run through me. All at once, we were surrounded. Two attending doctors, and a social worker. They took us into a lovely, modern room. Comfortable but brutally scary at the same time. I couldn't help but wonder how many families have sat on this couch before us and how many will after? How many tears had been shed here?
As the doctors started talking, I could hardly concentrate after "extremely grave condition". I was certain at that moment that the next tears shed in this room would be mine. The social worker took my hand in hers.
The dam broke and I lost it. Pulled myself together fairly quickly, trying desperately to listen and understand every word the doctor had spoken. We were left with,"Let's see what happens in the next 24 hrs." This is something I had heard before...when my girl was hospitalized just after her 5th birthday. It's one of the most unsettling sentences, in a hospital setting, that you hear. A churning mixture of hope, fear, dread, and panic filled my insides.
They shook our hands. I awkwardly hugged all of them. I hugged all the nurses and doctors. To this day, I am not sure why...maybe it gave me hope...maybe it was that I was so thankful for all they were doing, to try to save him. I don't know.
We were told by the very sweet social worker that he was being brought into his room now and we could see him. Through a set of double doors and around one corner. No long walk to steel myself before facing this sight...we were there. I let go of my Moms hand and she kept walking. I hid around the corner, willing myself strength and not to cry. I had promised myself that I absolutely would NOT cry in his room. I could not be responsible for adding to his pain by having to listen to his little girls heart break.
My Mom poked her head around the corner and said,"come on!"
I squared my shoulders, dried my eyes, put a smile on my face...and walked into my Daddy's room.
I did not cry.
Part 3 coming soon.....