Never Being Repaired

All of us will inevitably go through life with some terrible story that we will never forget until Alzheimer's or death. We'll each carry that story with us close to our hearts recalling every tiny detail as we remember them. It's hard to share those stories, for each time we tell them we realize how much we have forgotten, but we also recall how painful some of those details are to us. My story goes like this.

I was 15. My friend Kelly and I spent countless hours in her backyard escaping from reality. We knew everything about each other, that we were at least willing to share. As such, she knew how I wished my father dead. I did so nearly every day. I wanted him gone for the abuses he inflicted upon my brothers and my mother. Despite what I ever endured, it seemed nothing in comparison to my poor mom. She loved him so dearly, did she not see? Looking back from 15 years in the future, I now understand that she did see, and yet her love was unwavering. It is hard to not love someone when the love is there, even when that person breaks your heart continually. I will never say what I would have done in her situation, it is not for me to judge. I know what is considered the best decision, and it was tried but to no avail.

So it was a summer evening that my mom hurried over to Kelly's yard. Her face and eyes were red so I knew something was more serious than normal. It was this moment that I heard the first phrase that I would replay over and over in my head, "they say he has about 2 weeks left". I don't know that I said anything, how could I when the wind was knocked out of me. As soon as my mom was out of hearing range, Kelly said, "looks like you got your wish", yet other phrase I replay in my head. It's this phrase that haunts me to this very day. The phrase that has willed me to never use the word "hate" towards any individual, and the phrase that always makes me think wisely before any wishing is had.

I have to admit that I can't sufficiently recall the details of these two weeks at all. I had for some reason failed to believe that dad could die. He was the cat with nine proverbial lives. He'd lived through much worse. I saw him every day. Every day he lay in that damned hospital bed I would tell him about my daily adventures with Kelly. Surely he wasn't leaving.

At around 6 in the morning the phone rang. I answered at the same time my mom answered. I kept quiet, knowing I needed to hang up, but not wanting to sacrifice the knowledge of the call. The nurse told my mom that "he is slipping into a coma, perhaps having you here to talk to him will keep him from slipping too quickly, and if nothing else, your chance to say goodbye". It was only moments later that the four of us, mom, Dusty, Drew, and myself, were at the hospital, beside dad, who would never speak to us again.

Everyone told me how brave I had been, how it was difficult to go through this, and yet I was strong, not crying, not yielding to the stress. I needed to be strong for my mom, this was no time for faltering will. The reality was though, that it hadn't hit me yet. After a few days of enduring dad's coma, my aunt offered to take me and my brothers to her house for some sleep. I gladly accepted as I was exhausted and knew Drew wouldn't go without me. I walked into dad's room full of loved ones, walked passed the eyes watching me, and to dad's bedside. I looked at his yellowed face and leaned in to say "bye dad, love you". I gave him a kiss on his still lips. I will never forget the feeling of kissing someone and getting no response. It is the most unloved feeling I have ever known.

I don't recall leaving the room, but the next memories I have are of me sitting in the corridor outside his room crying for the first time. I have a memory of a nurse giving me a Popsicle. I know that Aunt JoAnne dropped Dusty off at home since that is where he wanted to be, while Drew and I chose to sleep at Aunt JoAnne's home. I awoke the next morning and was sat at the couch in the living room with Drew; Aunt Jo told us that our dad had died at 12:54 in the morning. I did not cry. I did not speak.

It was about 2 weeks after we buried my father when his dad, my grandpa, was over repairing the air conditioner. I was excited that I got to help! I couldn't wait to tell dad. I sat in his chair waiting for him to get home from work, and as time passed I thought he was running late. I walked to the window to peer out and saw his truck sitting in the drive way. It was this very moment that I finally understood that my dad was gone. He was never coming home, he would never hear my stories, he would never sit in his chair. I had my heart broken by him on many an occasion, but this time, it would never be repaired.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too replay those few weeks of our lives in my head on many occasions. After the friendship we created, I should have been a better friend during the hardest time of your life, a time when you needed someone more than ever. I have never forgave myself for that response or my my reaction (or lack of)and I don't expect you to ever forgive me. I was admittedly a young, ignorant, selfish, person. I love you Steph.