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November 04, 2005

A day I remember

Today, November 4, marks the ninth anniversary of my father's death. Or rather, the day his body was found. He'd been dead nearly a week before the neighbors noticed something was wrong.

I'm not posting about this for sympathy. I got enough of that nine years ago. I don't really know why I'm sharing this, I guess maybe I'm ready to talk about it. I don't talk about this with anyone, not even my husband or my mother.

My father was only 55 when he died of congestive heart failure. The coroner said my dad wasn't in any pain, that he'd just passed out and then died. That's the only thing that to this day gives me any comfort, as my dad was alone and died in the fucking garage next to the garbage can. It's humiliating enough to have been alone, but to have been in the garage. (He apparently was taking old newspapers out to the garbage.)

I'll also never forget how, when I came home from work, my mother was sobbing. The coroner had found my mom's address (I was still single and living with my mom and step-dad) and they came and told mom about my dad. The fact that my mother was crying so much said something about her character, as obviously my parents were divorced. All Mom said to me was "The coroner was here..." and I knew. My step-father caught me as I fell on the floor. I hit all the stages of accepting death all at once, but I seem to still be angry, even now.

My dad was 55! He didn't have to die! But he felt sorry for himself after the divorce, drank too much, had a terrible diet, never did anything.

And how can I mourn someone I never knew? Sure, he is partially responsible for giving me life, but what else did he do? He certainly wasn't a good father, and I never even really had a conversation with him until I was in college. He used to tell me about his time in the Army (yes, he served, all you Libs out there) and how he'd been a General's driver in D.C. Dad would go on and on about the Smithsonian...

I had to bury my father at the same time I was planning my wedding. That fucking funeral director! I'll never forget how he opened the double doors to the room that housed the caskets; like it was a goddamn Cadillac showroom or something! I remember standing in the doorway, hysterical laughter in my head; surely this wasn't real. I should have been picking out flowers and limos for my big day, not arranging a spray of roses for my dad's casket.

The whole thing sucked. Husband, who at the time was just BoyfriendAboutToBeHusband, was overseas and his family was, well, they just sent flowers, that was it.

Like I do almost every day, I wonder if my father would have been a better grandparent than parent. What would he have thought of his grandson and granddaughter? It's hard to explain to Son, who's six, about my dad, his grandfather, but someday I will. Son already knows kids in his class who have divorced parents...

I still feel like I never knew my father. I would give all that inheritance - the money, the house, the car, the stocks - back in a heartbeat to have my dad back. To go to D.C. and spend hours in the Smithsonian with him. To talk, just talk about his life, his family. All the family history is gone, the family name is gone.

I've got the money, I sold the house and the car, I've got the stocks...hell, I've even got my father's eyes and poor eyesight, his temperament, his love of books, his love of beer and all things alcohol (although I handle it better)...but that's it. And sometimes it isn't enough.

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Posted by Groovyvic at 06:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)