This post is for me. My dad died yesterday and the laptop is in front of me, and I need this. I need the act of energetically depositing my emotions through my fingertips into this screen and leaving them here.
My father was an addict. My father was also the nicest man I have ever met. He was an alcoholic. He was misunderstood. He was a human. He was my dad. He was far from perfect, but he never pretended he was something he wasn't. He owned his struggle. He died by himself in a fire and I have yet to find out the specific cause of death. Maybe if I keep saying it, it will finally register. My dad died, my dad died, my dad died.
I have been expecting this call for some time. So maybe that is why I am physically in grief, but mentally kind of okay. I feel like I am too okay. I feel like I might be more heartless than I thought I was. But I shouldn't feel like I need to prove myself to anyone. I know the love I had for my dad. The fact that I am not crying right now and I want to go back to work as early as tomorrow has nothing to do with the amount I loved my father. I can honestly say I have zero regrets in terms of loving him, expressing my love for him, and appreciating him even when it was hard.
He was nice. He fought for the underdogs. He hated injustice. He taught me not to judge anyone or the struggles they are facing. He showed me that people deserve love even when they don't fit into society's mold of success. He tried until the day he died, and that means more to me than anything.
I wrote some of this a day or so after this all happened. I have since learned that he died of a natural cardiac event, and that the fire occurred after his passing. He was in the living room, watching TV. I could not ask for a better situation for him. I can't begin to tell you the difference in grief I felt when I found out he wasn't in a dark place...he was actually in one of the best places he has been in a while. This makes all the difference in the world to me. He might have struggled with addiction many years of his life, but that did not deter from his value.
His value was cemented the day he was born. His struggles were many, and he did the best he could. He provided for his family the best that he could. He chased sobriety the best that he could. He loved me more than I could fathom...whether he knew how to or not.
It is in this spirit that I would like to give a realistic list of memories I have of him. Because when my time comes, I don't want a bull shit speech about how I "lit up every room I walked into." Everyone says that. People don't become perfect when they die. They lived as an imperfect human and they go out as an imperfect human. So here is my list as I work through this.
- One time in a blizzard I couldn't find my kitten. He roped himself to the house and went out in the middle of the storm and retrieved her.
- He got super drunk while I was in college and tracked down the number of the bar I worked at. He called the bar and told me he was going to call the police on me because I wasn't answering him. It was mortifying.
- He made as many basketball games, volleyball games, and track meets as he possibly could. I could always hear his "Great job You-ree!" from the stands.
- He took jobs he hated to provide for our family.
- He had an inferiority complex that manifested as an egotistical tyrade when he was drunk.
- He woke up every day and tried to be upbeat, even when I knew he was unhappy.
- He tried to help me with my math homework, even when I ended up in tears 9 times out of 10.
- He was an amazing piano player and would serenade me with the Styx every time I asked.
- He dreamed BIG...even if they weren't realistic, he still went there.
- He would let me eat his Hot Tamales candy and stay up and watch SNL with him.
- He didn't wear a shirt when he married my mom. What a hippie.
- He loved me.
Those are just a few things that come to mind. I will pass on what he taught me to my children some day. I will tell them their grandpa was full of love and I won't be lying. I loved him. It was hard to do so sometimes, but I did. I never thought I would say this and mean it, but I wouldn't want a more perfect dad. I'll take the dad with the struggle. I'll take the dad with the issues. I chose him before this life to be my dad for a reason, and I will take every lesson he taught me and share it with my family.
I love you dad, thank you for just being you for the years you were here. Thank you for everything. You had a positive impact here and you will be missed greatly.