Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dad & Me ~ The Final Chapter

Life is not a Hallmark made for TV movie. Things don't always get wrapped up in a neat little package with everyone getting their happily ever afters. It can be messy, stressful and downright dramatic. We don't necessarily get what we want when we want it. As frustrating as that is, my faith tells me to let it go .. it's out of my hands.

No easy task for this mere, very imperfect mortal.

A month ago I started to retell the story of Daddy and me because I received a call from hospice (his caregiver at the nursing home). I was told he did not have much time left and his arrangements needed to be made soon. He's not suffering from a terminal illness but has been going downhill for sometime. Refusing to eat, he had lost weight and was depressed. It's a call I've been expecting but I don't think anyone is ever really ready for.

My heart broke.

When it's all said and done, despite the hurt caused by Dad leaving Mama and me, it's not about that. It's about a little girl that will always love her Daddy. He's the man that taught me road trips are awesome, ran beside me when my training wheels came off (shouting, "Go Baby GO!" as I blazed away on my Big Girl Bike), played catch outside until it was so dark we could barely see the ball, taught me to drive, was a pro at checkers,

Proudly showed me off on vacation

Made Christmas Magical

Indulged my love of horses and took me to lessons every Saturday morning for years

Was front and center for my First Communion

And after 7 years of cotillions waltzed with his little debutante.

I've gotten a glimpse at how our foster kiddos feel.. in most cases they see past their parents' faults and wrongdoings. No matter what your age, you never stop loving your family. It's innocent and very child-like but it is what it is. Familia.

Too weak now to be placed in a wheelchair, my once active father is completely bed ridden. He will never get the chance to feel the sun on his face, hop in the car and go to the store or even take a deep breath of fresh air. His only visitors are the lovely hospice nurses.

That kills me.

I've been asked if I felt this journey was all for not and if I regret being reunited with him after 20 years. I wasn't able to swoop in and save the day, justice has not been served (nor will it be in his lifetime). Yes, Dad pulled a massive midlife crisis, walked away from our family only to create a new one that wouldn't be there for him in the end. Did he make his own bed? Maybe. Does he deserve this?

In my book, absolutely not.

I've had the opportunity to visit him on several occasions over the past few years. I got to look him in the eye and tell him I forgive him. Although he can hardly speak, 2 weeks ago he was able to call me, "My Baby", reach out and caress my cheek. I got to see him and (in my heart) say a final, proper goodbye.

Knowing now what all went down, would I do this all again?

In a heartbeat.

I love you, Daddy. Always.


Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

I am so glad this is how the story "ends"...reconciliation isn't always possible but when it is it's so rewarding! I just reunited with my dad after a 13 year span of time and my soul has been healed in ways I thought it never would be...God is faithful, huh?
So glad you have these last few years with your dad =) (((hugs)))

Stella said...

This made me cry.

I LOVE the last picture of you and your dad. All of the other ones are wonderful, but there is just "something" about that last one.

It really is all about forgiveness, love and the journey we are all on.

Thank you so much for sharing yours and your dad's story with all of us.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you navigate these next new roads.

God Bless.

Sheri said...

Thank you so much for telling such a personal story.

It was very touching and I loved the last picture.

You have a HUGE heart!

Kristin said...

Oh wow. You just made me cry. What a beautiful ending for a tumultuous story.

cheekyradish said...

Aww- so glad you could reunite and make peace. We are all 'daddies' girls' always, no matter what, aren't we?

Loved the last picture. He looks so happy and proud.

Ms.Christy said...

Wow, what a powerful story! It made me cry. Love the picture.

Lavender Luz said...

You are such an amazing daughter.

And because of that, I bet in many ways your Dad has been an amazing father.

Love your pix.

alicia said...

Beautiful ending, no, not neatly wrapped up with a happy ending, but it is real. You reconciled, and that is worth more than anything. Praying for you as you walk through the final stages of this journey with your father. Thanks for sharing.


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