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I’m not sure how to start this post. I’m not even sure I should even be writing it. For those that don’t know, my Dad died Saturday morning. I’ve been struggling with my feelings since hearing news of his illness last week.
Thursday night I went to see him. He was bed ridden and barely able to communicate. However he knew I was there and seemed comforted by my presence. I was able to care for him and help my step mother through that last day.
I’ve been having a whole host of feelings but guilt and regret have been dominating my thoughts. I really withdrew from my Dad these last few years. I didn’t hate him or have much anger towards him. It was much more indifference then anything else.
Our relationship really started deteriorating as I got older and had a child of my own. I really understood less and less the decisions he made as a parent himself. How did he leave us? How did he think that was acceptable? He was never down in the parental trenches with mom raising us and there was more then one occasion I felt like a bother to him. Not to mention the whole weight/body image thing. I just didn’t understand him and I still don’t.
But when I walked into his room Thursday night every bit of misunderstanding, indifference, and alienation flew completely out the window. I saw my Dad and he needed me. That was it. I spent the next 24 hours by his side. Talking with him. Remembering with him. Even laughing when my mom (she’s a nurse) came to help bath and shave him. He had some moments of lucidness and during that time we all had a laugh at the strange awkwardness that was ex-wife, new wife, and estranged daughter caring for him. If you knew our family history you’d be laughing too.
I’m so thankful for those last hours but I can’t help but feel guilt for the last 4 years I avoided him. And, in all honesty, that’s what I did. I just didn’t go out of the way. I couldn’t hide my feelings and when he was around I really shut down emotionally. It was hard for me but now it all seems so ridiculous. I mean, he was my Dad and now he’s gone.
I’m sure my feelings are part of the normal grieving process. I had a nice long conversation with the husband last night. We laughed. We cried, well, I cried. Not to mention all the kind words from all of you. I couldn’t believe the support on facebook and twitter. I read them all and one comment really stuck with me…
Roni, I’m so sorry. I lost my mom two years ago and I’m here to tell you that your dad is NOT GONE… your relationship with him will continue, in a different but fulfilling way. I wish you comfort in your grieving as you mourn the loss of his physical presence.
I think Mary Anne is right. My relationship with my Father has changed. I’m just sorry it took death for it to happen. I really am.
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I’ve been doing this a looong time…