November 11, 2006 - My father passes away.
I contemplated waiting on this post until November 13th as that is the date that I found out about my father's death. But, this is the actual anniversary of the day my dad died.
My father was diagnosed in April of 2006 with cirrhosis of the liver. He was told he would have ten years if he gave up all alcohol. My dad was not about to do that and his health deteriorated quickly. My brothers and I encouraged him to move back from the south to live here, but, true to his nature, he wouldn't do it. He didn't want to be an inconvenience and he enjoyed where he was.
Dad lived alone. Therefore, no one knew just how sick he was. In the wee hours of the morning on the eleventh, my father called a friend and told her he was having difficulty breathing. This friend, who lived hundred of miles away, tried to convince him to take himself to the hospital. But my dad wasn't ever crazy about doctors, so he didn't go. She even called the paramedics in his hometown to go check on him, but he wouldn't let them come in the house.
Later on that day, my dad's friend called him. He was a little upset with her for calling the paramedics, but he forgave her. He told her he still wasn't feeling well and was real tired, so he'd call her back later.
He never called her back.
Finally, the next evening, my dad's friend started making phone calls which resulted in the police going to his home around 10:00 Sunday night. They arrived only to discover that my father had passed away around 11:00 Saturday night.
My father passed away on 11/11 at 11:00. Leave it to him.
Apparently, my cousin tried to get a hold of me late on Sunday night. But, as we did not have a telephone upstairs at the time, I never heard the phone ring. When I came down stairs on Monday morning, I saw the light on the phone blinking, indicating that someone had called. As soon as the caller i.d. showed my cousin's name and the time she called, I knew the news was not going to be good. She had left a message for me to call as soon as I got the message.
Sitting on the steps leading to our attic, I listened as she told me, "I'm sorry, but your daddy passed away."
Knowing that she was going to tell me this was one thing. Hearing her say the words, I honestly felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I asked her some details and we hung up.
In shock, at first, I didn't cry...until I had dialed Eric's cell phone and he answered. Then I lost it.
My dad was gone. He didn't even know about the new grandchild I was carrying. I hadn't spoken to him on the phone for a couple of months. He was supposed to visit later in the week.
Now, he was gone.
The worst part was knowing he died alone. A lot of decisions and situations led up to that being the case, but it was hard knowing that no one was there.
I wasn't there.
In April, my brothers and I, along with my two aunts and a couple of cousins all met in Daytona Beach, Florida to hold a time of memorial for my father and scatter his ashes. My dad spent quite a bit of time in Daytona Beach and always dreamed of moving there.
As I spent some time alone walking along the beach, seeing the hotel he spent his time at, looking at the water - I could see why he loved it so much. It was a fun place to be. My dad loved having fun.
It was also peaceful. My father loved peace, though I fear he enjoyed little of it at times in his life.
As I sat on the beach, I couldn't help but wonder what he thought about while he sat alone on that very beach. Did he wish things had been different? Was he happy? Was he lonely? Did he think of God?
The last day I was there with the family, I could almost feel my father's presence. I stood with the water coming in and covering my feet and could almost feel my dad come up and put his arm around me like he had so many times before. He would've said, "I'm so glad you're all here. I love you, my little girl!"
I love you, too, dad. I miss you!