I have thought I have experienced heart ache before. I thought I have felt sadness before. However, yesterday I believe I felt the true meaning of a heart ache. Yesterday and today I have felt like a brick has been crushing down on my heart off and on. I have never felt more exhausted in my entire life. I feel like I am in a daze, life keeps moving but I want to scream WHY? This post is about Forgiveness, Love, and Good-bye.
My Dad was not the best Father, to be honest he was far from it. He was abusive. I wanted my Dad in the worst way, I finally gave up on him. I tried several times to give him another chance only to have my heart broken once more. Oh, I loved him when I gave up on him because he was my father. I just did not want to have anything to do with him or time to make time for him. In November 2009, my Mom called me telling me how sick my Dad was. I just listened. I did not care. It was just six months prior he was in the bar telling people how he wished my Mom was dead from her accident. My sister, Katie and uncle forced him to go to the ER the day after Thanksgiving. I guess that saved his life. My Mom wanted me to come and visit. I just told her I could not make it down. I did not care. I said good-bye to my Dad years ago. My heart was cold towards him. My Dad realized how much he lost in his life and quit drinking, just like that. He wanted to live and have another chance. Everyone back home was telling me how great he was doing. I was happy for him but the walls were around my heart still. I had seen it too many times. My Mom and close friend told me how I need to make peace with him. He told me he was sorry for everything he did and how he screwed up his life and wished he could relive it and make the right choices and that would be his girls. May of 2011, Joshua graduated. My Mom and Dad came and stayed with me a couple of days. My Dad would just talk and talk about how much he loved me and the boys. He told me how proud he was of me, how I did such a great job raising my boys. I was making a photo collage for Joshua's party and realized I made a duplicate of one of the photos. I asked my Mom if she wanted it and my Mom just said she had a lot of pictures maybe my Dad would like it. I turned to him and asked him if he wanted it. He said yes with the biggest smile. He held that picture of Joshua and looked at it as if it was so valuable and a single tear rolled down his cheek. My heart was so touched. It was at that moment the walls came tumbling down. My Dad had changed. I thanked God for giving me the Dad I always wanted. The Grandpa I always wanted my boys to have. I was able to completely forgive my Dad for everything he has done. It still did not make him the best Father, but he was now a loving Father.
My Dad continued to share his feelings with us, on how much he loved us every single time we spoke or saw one another. I loved this. I loved having a real Dad. It was October the same year, my Dad was diagnosed with Liver Cancer. The day my Dad told me on the phone I had to pull over at a park. I was so angry with God. I kept asking God over and over Why? Why would you just give me my Dad back only to take him away from me? Why God? Why let me break down this wall only to be hurt again? Why? I only had two years of a sober Dad. Why? I pulled back onto the road and by the time I reached my garage, my heart felt totally different. I felt comforted. I did not hear God's answer but he filled my heart with it. I realized God did this for me to have peace with my Dad before he took him. I realized God gave me my Dad for two years, he could have taken him without giving me any years. In January 2012, the first set of doctors gave him 6 months. I was so impressed with how my Dad was dealing with cancer. His liver was too damaged to do anything at all from the drinking, the cancer, and Hepatitis C he caught by getting tattoos. He could not survive an operation or the liver would bleed. He could not survive radiation or chemotherapy. All he could have was chemo pills which is a very light way to treat cancer. His oncologist gave him 6 months in November 2012. Once again my Dad surpassed this doctor too. He would tell me over the phone how he thought the doctors are not telling the truth. He denied he had cancer because he felt great. He felt they were not telling the truth to scam the insurance. God gave us two years with my Dad having 100% quality of life. My boys were able to get to know their Grandpa. My husband was able to get to know him. I had some people ask me how I could forgive him for everything he did to me in my past. I just answered because I love him. What I went through in life made me the person I am. During the times I thought I was weak, I realized I was strong. I was strong enough to walk away. I was not alone, God provided me with the right people in my life when I needed them. In the end it is me looking at myself in the mirror. I am not a person of hatred but a loving and caring person. My Dad proved he deserved this last chance. I am so grateful God gave us the chance for my Dad to go out as a good person. I am so grateful that my Dad wanted this himself. I am so grateful that my relationship was mended not because he was going to die. I am so glad that my Dad found God in the end once again.
Towards the end of October 2013, my Dad started to build up fluid from his liver. Cancer was finally starting to win. Two years after his oncologist gave him 6 months my Dad became a Hospice/Home patient. He called me two days after being admitted and the Hospice staff coming to his house, he told me how he really does have cancer and how he is actually dieing. I thought then this was the hardest call I had ever had to listen to. I was wrong. I began to go to Des Moines a lot. Watching my Dad die was difficult, so many emotions. In the end when my Dad called me and told me he how he was so tired. He had no energy to live and he was tired of waiting just to die I found myself beginning to pray not for my Dad for God to watch over him but for God to take him. I prayed for God to let my Dad die and not suffer any more. At first I felt guilty for this prayer but it is the most loving thing I could have done, not be selfish and ask for him to be with us and suffer. Yeah, some may think why should I care if he is suffering because of all of the suffering he caused to others. I cannot explain the love I have for him. When the tear came down his cheek after two years of sobriety, I saw how much he did love his family. I could see the pain he was suffering because he did realize how much he lost out in life by his choices. It was my choice for my boys and I not to lose out the rest of his life. During his fight over the next few years, he kept telling me how stupid he was and wishes he could relive his life, he would still be married to my Mom and would have been there every step of the way for us girls.
March was a tough month. I am making less money and the child support did not come at all. I made it the first and second weekend to Des Moines, the following I told my Dad I could not afford it with the cost of gas. He told me "Don't worry honey, I know you love me and I do not plan on going any where. I will be here." The next two weekends were the same, both checking accounts were negative. He asked me if I wanted gas money, I told him no. Last week, I could hear he was getting weaker. His voice was so soft and I could hear the difficulty he was having with just breathing. My sister's daughter was in the hospital as well and was going to be discharged on Saturday after being there for two weeks. I called my sister's house on Friday and my Dad answered. I asked him for my sister or brother-in-law and he told me they went up to the hospital to see Miranda, he asked me why I wanted them. I told him I wanted to see if Katie wanted a break and not having people come into her house this weekend since Miranda was coming home. My Dad spoke up and said, "No! You need to come. I want you to come this weekend honey." I asked the question again and he answered the same response. I told him to tell Katie the boys and I will be there. Sunday, Ethan, Noah, and I made the journey once more. He failed to tell Katie but as usual she was fine with it. I never stay long because I do not want to wear him out. This day, he moved slow. He had difficulty breathing. He even crawled into a lounger to lay down. My Dad has never done this. When I went to leave we all gave him kisses. I told him I loved him and I would be down next Sunday and see him. He responded, "No, I won't be here." I just looked at him and said what did you say. He repeated it and then smiled, that is if I am still living. My heart sunk to my stomach and gave him another kiss. It was a very long drive home.
Monday, I had the day off to help Todd get plots for a garden. Mid-day, my sister Lisa called crying. I had a hard time understanding her. She told me he was moving from my sister Katie's home because he did not want to die where the little girls may find him. He did not want them to be teased saying their house is haunted by a ghost. He asked for my Grandma to come see him and Lisa because he felt like his body was shutting down and the Hospice Nurse was on her way. I asked if I needed to come down and I was told no. I spoke to the Hospice Nurse and she told me she felt he would make it through the week and she would call me right after her visit on Thursday. I went to work on Tuesday and told them I needed the following week off to be with my Dad because the end is beginning. I called Tuesday after work and my Mom said he was bad, he was sleeping most of the day, did not eat anything and only had two sips of something to drink. I asked her if she thought he would make it through the night and she said yes. I called my cousin because my Grandmother had called me and said I need to come down because she thought he was not going to make it through the night. All of his siblings were going to see him. My cousin went and she called me and said I had time he was talking to them but drifting in and out while they were there. He recognized everyone and when they left my aunt went to the big window and made faces at him and he made faces back. With that being told, I packed my bags to leave the next morning after I took Ethan to school. I called my boss and told her I needed to change my leave time to begin on Wednesday and I would be out only through Friday.
I had a dream of my Dad that night. I was at my Mom's house and it was late and time for us to go to sleep. I told my Dad how much I love him and he told me how proud he was of me. What a good mother I am and how much he loved me. Next thing in my dream I was sleeping on the couch which was in the living room directly across from the hospital bed my Dad was in by the big picture window. While we were sleeping, I heard my Dad take his last breath, he died in my dream with me sleeping on the couch. I woke up thinking this is how it was going to be. I was supposed to be there in the living room with my Dad. Less than 15 minutes after I got up my phone ring. This was the hardest call I have ever had. It was my Mom. She told me he passed during the night. She went to bed shortly after midnight and could hear him breathing when she woke up at 6 she could not hear him any longer, she then felt him and realized he passed. I remember screaming "No! I am supposed to be there!" over and over. My husband rushed his shower and came to me. I told my Mom I would be down as soon as I gained composure. All I could think was it was not supposed to happen this way. I was supposed to be there. My Dad stayed in my Mom's living room where we could be with him until shortly after 6 that night. They left him for my boys to be able to say good-bye because there will be no viewing.
As I was driving back to Des Moines this morning because we had to go to the funeral home to make arrangements, I thought about my dream. I was still saying it was not supposed to be that way in my head, while my husband slept. I kept him from sleeping from tossing and turning and crying in my sleep. We made an agreement I would drive to and he would drive back. During this drive it hit me. My dream, it was not how it was supposed to be, it was my father bringing me to him because he knew I was not going to make it. He wanted me to be there, to be with him, for me to be able to say good-bye one last time. I think he came to me.