Missing My Dado
Dad died 12/2/2010 and the waves of grief keep crashing down on me. The past two weeks, I've been so busy at work and with my children that I was able to push through. There is a tightness in my neck and back and I am a robot moving mechanically through what I have to do at work and at home. A flash of joy here and there lights in my heart, but then goes out in a snuff of smoke and darkness. Nothingness.
My dad officially died of septic shock - which was caused by how weak his body, liver and immune system had become due to chemotherapy treatments for stage 4 lung cancer.
My dad was a smoker - since he was 15. I remember as a girl, I would find his cigarettes and destroy them. I would crush them and flush them down the toilet. I asked him to quit smoking - so many times I lost count. He would sometimes listen to me and other times, he would set his jaw and say nothing, waiting for the judgment of his second born daughter to pass.
I got the call when I was on a business trip. My dad had a tumor in his lung. The next day, I flew home and my sister flew home to be with Mom and my brother. I knew it was cancer. And I was angry with him. Angry that I had asked him so many times to quit smoking and he never did.
I have only forgiven him because my mom told me that after his diagnosis, he cried to her apologizing for doing this to her and us. He never apologized to us though, I think it was too much for him. Maybe too much pain and too much pride.
9 months later, he died in the hospital. The ventilator was breathing for him while his body tried to fight an infection that kills half of the people who get it.
He was only 61.
Growing up, I wasn't really that close to my dad. I was always closer to mom. I would call them and Dad would answer and talk for a minute and then give my mom the phone. He was so stubborn and strong willed. We were alot alike. I always felt his love. He was an action-man. He showed his love that way. He would bring me a glass of water, fill my car with gas or buy me a cd. That was how he showed his love.
I moved across the country after college and only saw him once or twice a year. Of course I loved him, he was my dad, my dado.
Now that I have children of my own, I like to think that I understand him much better. It's not that he wasn't there - he was. He was just working like a mad man to provide for his family. He was doing what all parents do, their best. And now I know his best was wonderful.
After his diagnosis, we became much closer. We spoke on the phone every day or every other day. We made video calls with my children to see him. He started writing me emails.
This is what I miss. His voice was soft and whispery due to the chemo and the radiation treatments. There was love in his voice. He always sounded so happy when I called or when I answered his call. He was speaking to me and only me. Something he didn't have time for when I was growing up.
Today, I kept thinking of the last time I saw him, just about a week before he died. We were all together for my sister's wedding - my brother, mom and dad and I. It was wonderful and a wonderful last memory. He and mom were coming for Christmas to see me and my children and I was so excited. We were out to breakfast together and it was time for me to go to the airport to go home. I remember how small he looked in that puffy down coat he was wearing. How his hair was starting to grow back a little - all white. He was wearing a knit hat from the drugstore he was so proud of himself for finding for three dollars.
Mom and dad were about to go have their first ever couples massage - massages had really helped dad with recovering from chemo.
I stood up and hugged him in that big puffy coat, feeling how tiny he had become. He smiled his gap-toothed grin at me. "I love you so much. I can't wait to see you at my house." He said, "Me too."
I still love you so much, Dado.