It’s funny…the things that you remember and the things that you don’t…
I remember giving you a hug as I left to continue babysitting.
I don’t remember if I told you I loved you one last time.
I remember feeling numb in the days, weeks, months, years that followed your death.
I don’t remember what the stupid fight I had with mom was about the night before you died…because it was stupid and pointless and doesn’t matter.
I remember being angry when mom called me at work to tell me that you had died…surely she could have told me in person or sent someone for me.
I don’t remember the exact words spoken…just the feeling of my world crashing down.
I remember the sky opening up and pouring rain…the feeling that the world was crying with me and knew that everything was not alright in my world…it was horribly wrong.
I don’t remember the last time I felt truly whole or if I ever really did.
I remember waking up the next morning to my childhood best friend calling…half asleep I realized that she was crying and I asked why and that’s when I was reminded that you had died the night before.
I don’t remember the sound of your voice most days.
I remember going shopping for something to wear to your memorial service and hearing your words of “you’ll use anything as an excuse to shop” playing in my head as I couldn’t bring myself to tell the store employees who offered to help that I was looking for something to wear to my father’s funeral.
I don’t remember the exact time of your death…sometime late at night…likely between 10:00pm and 11:30pm on a Saturday night.
I remember crying out to God numerous times demanding that He figure out a way to send you back to me…the tears flowing unchecked down my face…the feeling that someone had reached down to hug me even though I was alone.
I don’t remember the last time you told me that you loved me or that I told you that I loved you.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last seven years trying to deal with your death.
Most days I think I’m doing okay.
Other days I realize that I’m pissed to be blunt.
In the days following your death, I was pissed but it seemed pointless to be pissed as a dead person and so I buried the feeling deep inside.
Now…seven long years later…I’m dealing with those emotions that I tried so long to bury. Because they need to be examined. I need to understand why I’m pissed. I’m tired of burying my feelings. So here we are…seven long years later…and I’m going to explain why I’m pissed.
I’m pissed that you didn’t love yourself enough to take better care of yourself.
I’m pissed that I continue to follow in your unhealthy footsteps and I often find myself questioning if I love myself enough to take better care of myself.
I’m pissed that I don’t know anything about your side of the family and I feel completely lost with where to even begin.
I’m pissed that I feel such a disconnect from all sides of the family – not just yours.
I’m pissed that problems between you and mom and the rest of the family have forever shaped my world and my relationships with my family and not just my relationships with my family – my relationships with literally everyone including my relationship with myself.
I’m pissed that I wasn’t given a choice in the matter.
I’m pissed that no one stopped to put the needs of the children – you and mom as well as all the other adults involved – above their own selfish egos.
I’m pissed that most of my memories of childhood involve screaming and yelling and hitting – not by you.
I’m pissed because I shouldn’t have had to deal with that as a child – and I did.
I’m pissed that you and mom spent the majority of my life yelling at each other.
I’m pissed that my example of a family and marriage were dysfunctional and for years I swore I’d never get married or have children as I refuse to repeat the mistakes made in the past.
I’m pissed that it’s taken me years to try to begin to take care of myself and understand that taking care of myself is loving myself.
I’m pissed because I do want a family one day and I fear that I’ll never get it.
I’m pissed that if I ever decide to get married that you’re not going to be there to walk me down the aisle…to have that daddy-daughter dance with me that I dreamed about for years…to give your approval of my future husband…to be asked for my hand in marriage…to give me away.
I’m pissed that if I have children that I’ll never be able to look at you and tell you that you’re going to be a grandfather…that you’ll never come visit your newborn grandchildren in the hospital…that you’ll never pick them up and hold them close and tell them that you love them.
I’m pissed that I lost the only parent I had in my life and I feel guilty for loving the new parent figures that have entered my life – and I do love them – they’re a gift.
I’m pissed that seven long years later I still fight with the tears that threaten to fall and then I swipe at them when they do fall.
I’m pissed that you never got to see me graduate college and that you never got to see my youngest brother graduate high school – grandpa wanted to see all of us graduate and you couldn’t even make it to all of them for him.
I’m pissed for being pissed at a dead dad.
And I’m pissed because I’ve often questioned if you loved me.
If you loved me, surely you would have fought harder to stay here.
You would have taken better care of yourself.
How could you rip out my heart like that?
You told me that you knew you would always have a daughter first. That you loved me even before you knew me. Why didn’t you fight harder?
And not just against dying.
Why didn’t you fight harder to make mom get help? To make our family get help? You gave up, didn’t you?
I was just a child.
But maybe it doesn’t do any good to be pissed. You can never answer my questions. We can never talk about why I’m pissed.
It doesn’t do anyone any good to be pissed at a dead dad.
I have every right to be pissed if that’s how I feel. I never should have buried those feelings deep inside. They were my feelings and they deserved to be acknowledged and examined and dealt with.
Because I deserve to move on. Because I deserve to be happy. Because I deserve to live.
And I do know that you loved me. You loved me before I was ever born. I’ll love you forever.