It was July 24, 2007…my 26th birthday. It was a Tuesday. I didn’t work that day. I decided I should take the day off to be home with The Man and Hannah. I vividly remember being in the kitchen making egg salad sandwiches for us when my Motorola Razor cell phone rang. The caller ID said it was my mom’s sister, my aunt, on the other line. My aunt and I didn’t talk on the phone often since I moved away from home but every time I visited I made sure we went to see her because I was very close to her growing up. She had 2 boys and my sisters and I were the only daughters she had. She loved us like we were her own and the feeling was mutual for me. I quickly answered the phone and I remember telling The Man that I bet she was calling to tell me happy birthday.
She did tell me happy birthday.
Then she told me that my dad was dead.
I am sure that life is full of so many memories but there are maybe 20 or so that actually stand out that you can describe what you were wearing or doing at that exact moment.
At the moment my aunt called me to tell me my dad died suddenly during a liver transplant I didn’t even know he was having, I was standing in my kitchen making egg salad sandwiches.
I never ate that sandwich.
Many things happened after that moment in time including a last minute 22 hour drive to Ohio. There were a lot of mixed emotions due my dad and I having an on and off relationship and many shed tears. I remember thinking back to the last talks I had with my dad that I actually blogged about here and here. (All of the posts about my dad can be found HERE) One thing I have that is a constant memory that I will never, ever forget- my aunt told me.
She told me in the softest, sweetest voice. Even when my voice trembled and I accused her of being mistaken, she was my constant on the other end of the line.
I’m not sure why my mom wasn’t the one to tell me. I don’t know if it was because she was in the hospital at the time due to her MS and couldn’t call me long distance or if she couldn’t handle telling me…either way, I never asked. I didn’t care. My aunt told me my dad was dead, and I’ll never forget that.
Last year my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She went through many weeks of chemo and radiation and in February was cleared of all her cancer. She had a party at her church to celebrate. I said a little thank you prayer to God for healing her because she’s my mom’s only sibling and I know my mom had been struggling with the fact that she might lose her.
A few weeks ago my mom called me and told me that doctors had found 3 tumors in my aunt’s brain. Amazingly enough, they were able to operate and remove all 3. She is home today, happy and healthy. Yes, she’s facing more chemo and radiation but she’s on a mission to be declared cancer free again.
When I found out she had those brain tumors after having just been declared cancer free I couldn’t help but think of when she so very sweetly and as best she could told me that my dad was gone. I have to believe now that there was a reason why SHE was the one to tell me.
Cancer is a horrible, tragic, awful thing and yet, out of darkness hope is born. She has new hope. We all do.
I just wanted to share this story because she deserves it and because when my dad was alive I complained too much and didn’t share the good things as much as I should have, even when he and I struggled to see eye to eye. We change and evolve as we grow older and sometimes life’s lessons are learned in hard ways.
I love my aunt and appreciate her…I just had to share.
Happy weekend to all y’all.
We came home yesterday evening and I took an evaluation of our trip. There were only two times where I felt like I was anxious with my heart racing and had to take my second blood pressure medication. The rest of the trip? Smooth sailing. I thought that spending money and trying to plan our days would stress me out but instead it was the opposite. I know it was the combination of A LOT of prayer from me and knowing that the girls were having such a good time that eased my stress level way down.
Today? Still feeling better. So very grateful.
So what did we do all week?
We saw animals. Lots of animals. Between the drive through African Wildlife Park and the zoo in San Antonio, I’ve seen my fair share of animals to last me the rest of the year.
I thought that looked like a fake animal. Turns out it wasn’t. But I got excited when I saw Longhorns. Hook ‘em!
Also, I hate ostriches. The last time we drove through this place one stuck its head into our car and wouldn’t leave us alone. Hannah was about 4 years old and screamed her head off. When we drove through this time, any ostriches that were on our side of the car weren’t getting fed. End of story.
The people in front of us learned the lesson we did a few years ago.
When we weren’t with animals we were swimming. We swam more this week than we ever have and my girls loved it. Especially Hannah. She has to be part mermaid. And The Man is awesome and my planner. I love to be able to just get in the car and know where we’re going and what we’re doing all week and The Man is great with planning our whole trips so all I have to do is pack and go. I know that whatever he plans for us I’ll love and I’m so grateful for a husband that loves to plan and plans things he knows I’ll want to do.
Things like swim in a spring fed pool. When he described Barton Springs in Austin to me I was like “Oh that sounds cool.” When I walked in and saw this place? I fell in love.
He also found a similar type place called Krause Springs also in Austin.
And of course, ya gotta see the state capitol if you’re in Austin.
Now before I post my Instagram block for today I have to share that I got a Lifeproof case for my phone. Finally. I’ve been wanting one for weeks and the more I saw pictures on Instagram taken with this case the more I wanted it. It’s waterproof which is major for me because we spend our whole summer near or in water. When we planned this trip it kind of killed me a little that we’d be doing all this stuff in the water and I wouldn’t have pictures because let’s face it, disposable water cameras suck. I had a birthday while we were gone (ON TUESDAY!!! I’m 31 now ) so The Man told me I should get it so I did.
It’s pretty much amazing. The one thing I don’t like about it is that the screen sensitivity went down so I have to press harder to type anything. Otherwise? I am in love. I was able to get video of Hannah under the water and take pictures of her while standing neck deep in water. I love it. I didn’t have to miss out on photos for fear of wrecking my phone. Totally worth it. If you want one, they’re sold at Best Buy for $80. I recommend it if you’re in or around water as much as we are! It’s also dirt proof and snow proof but those don’t apply to me as I can’t stand either.
It was a fantastic week…a fantastic birthday…and just what I needed. Every year my birthday gets a little easier with my dad being gone. It’s hard when your parent dies ON your birthday and this is the first year that I didn’t spend all day thinking of that. I’m thinking yearly trips on my birthday is exactly what I need.
I truly hope y’all have a great weekend!
I know this will be hard to believe to those of you that know me, but I barely took any pictures when I was in Ohio for my sister’s wedding.
Are you over the shock yet?
I DID take a lot on my phone but barely any with my point and shoot and NONE on my big camera. Turns out when you’re IN a wedding you’re actually pretty busy. Who knew?
Totally joking. I DID know but still…shame on me.
The wedding was gorgeous…the reception was amazing…I hung out with family and friends and had such a wonderful time. My sister is now a married woman and joins my club of married daughters to my parents.
Y’all know how much I love love. Sometimes I think love is the only thing that keeps me going on the worst days. My sister and I don’t always see eye to eye but I was genuinely happy for her on her day. I could really feel the love between her and her husband (still weird to say!) and the day was gorgeous.
I made little Instagram collages of my time in Ohio…
This is the first time in ages that when I said goodbye to my family I didn’t have a future date in mind for when I’d be back.
That killed me.
Usually when I leave I’m saying “See you in November!” or “See you in the summer!!” This time? Nothing. I don’t know when we’ll be back. I HOPE summer of 2013 but OMG doesn’t that seem like so far away? Saying bye to my niece who’s so tiny and knowing the next time I see her she’ll be walking and talking killed me. Saying bye to my mom who cries EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I come back home kills me. To know SHE doesn’t have a date in mind to look forward to kills me. Distance sucks. I love living down here. Texas is my home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Ohio will always be home too and it pains a little more each time I leave my growing family.
I literally just took a very deep breath and let out a long sigh.
Typing it out doesn’t make it any easier than saying it outloud. Emotional overload.
Speaking of hard emotions, I went to my dad and grandparent’s graves while I was up there. I keep thinking that one day when I go to my dad’s grave I’ll be able to without crying. That day is nowhere close. I was fine driving into the cemetery. I was fine as I got out of the car and walked up to his grave. As soon as I stood there and read his headstone a few times the tears flowed. There’s just so much…he’s around though a lot and I take huge comfort in that. My best friend teases me cause I’ll tell her about the conversations I have with my dad still even after he’s gone and she jokes about how I argue with him in the afterlife. I told her “Of course I do. Now I can without his stupid reasoning getting in my way!” and we crack up. It’s true though. I’ve always loved my dad. He pissed me off A LOT when he was alive. But he’s gone now and for as much as I forgive people when they’re alive and in my life daily…how much more have I forgiven him in his death.
But with all of that, the weekend was still fabulous and I had a great time and by Monday I was ready to get home to my babies.
Back to regular blogging later this week or next week. Until then, love.
I miss you. Why did you mess up so badly when you were alive? Why did you make me resent you and hate to be around you? Why did we wait so long to make up? Why did you die a month after we made up? Why do I ache for you so badly now that you’re gone?
You’ve been visiting me though, haven’t you? The random memories that pop up in my head at the most random times…the songs that come on randomly that make me think of you….restaurants friends mention that were our favorite spot together…yet not a common place so it’s randomly brought up and I can picture us there eating and laughing.
I struggle with hating you. I struggle with loving you. I struggle with missing you the most. I’m glad you let me know you’re still around.
Thank you and come see me more often. Tell Grandma I said hi.
I got back home late Monday night after a very emotionally draining weekend. It wasn’t even so much the fact that my grandma was gone because she lived a very long, good life. Everything reminded me of my dad, though. That’s what was emotionally draining to me. All the songs that were sung were songs he loved or sang too. All the people that got up to talk said something about my dad in regards to my grandma. Granted, she had 9 kids but my dad was the youngest and it just seemed that everything reminded me of him. Pictures of him up in collages with guitar in hand and a smile on his face.
I really, really miss my dad.
And the longer he’s gone the harder it’s become, which usually is not the case. I blog about him in search of healing because of how our relationship went and how suddenly he died and all the shit I’ve been dealing with emotionally because of it. I hate him for drinking so much. I hate him for being selfish and letting all of us go. Then again, I forgive him for it because while he went down that road and could have turned back, he hated himself FOR even going that way and then drank more to deal with it. I’m not trying to make excuses because in my opinion, he ultimately chose booze over us.
That hurts. Immensely. And yet, does that mean he stopped loving us? No. My dad called me MANY times before and after I moved away, drunk and sober both, to tell me he loved me and missed me. And I? I was a total asshole to him…at least most of the times. I was hurt and mad and confused…and now that he’s gone…the only thing I am is sad. I have a gigantic dad sized hole in my heart and nothing can fill it. I miss him for all the good times…I miss him for all things we could have had if he would have changed….I miss him for all we could have had if he lived through his liver transplant. I don’t know anyone else who has lost a loved one in the middle of a life saving surgery that would have made everything better. My head is filled with so much to say about him…about it all and yet I just can’t seem to find the right words. I cried on the flight home Monday night thinking about what I’d say here on this blog and now I can only remember less than half of it. A fleeting moment I guess….I wish I had a laptop at that moment.
I went to my dad’s grave before I came back home.
I thankfully remembered where he generally was and just dug and dug through tons of snow until I found him. I probably looked like a crazy person hacking through snow and ice but I refused to stop, no matter how cold I got, until I found him. And after I did I stood there and cried. Tears froze to my cheeks and yet I couldn’t stop. I told him I’m so mad at him for doing what he did….but that I forgave him and that I knew he knew that. I told him I missed him. I told him I would give anything to hear his voice again…to hear him sing again…to play his guitar again….to hug him again. It’s a rotten feeling when you lose someone who you had SO much to say to them and never got to. I have no idea if this will ever get easier….so far it’s just gotten worse. And yet, I feel my dad nearby sometimes. I didn’t at all this weekend which I thought I would…but I have other times. I know he hears me and knows how I feel. That does help. I kissed my fingers and then put them on his headstone and walked away promising that I’d come see him next time I’m in town. Going there, digging the snow away, talking to him…it was all cathartic. Something I needed as it was the first time I’ve been there alone. I think I’ll go there alone from now on.
My grandma’s funeral went smoothly and her life was honored the best way we all knew how….by singing and laughing and eating. She would have been proud. I got to see so much family that I haven’t seen in ages. I took pictures with as many people as I could. I spent quality time with my mom too which is important because as much as I like to deny this, I don’t think my mom has much longer left in this world. And as I told The Man when I got back…her passing away will be very bittersweet because her MS has withered her body so much and ruined her so much that she’s just a shell of who she used to be and I hate it. I want her to move here and she won’t so it’s just torture to know she could have a better life but chooses not to…and to know I’m so far away…and to know she’s slowly giving up…but we believe in Heaven and that’s where she wants to be. She’s told me she’s tired and just ready to go Home. And while I’d miss her terribly and I can’t imagine my life without my mom in it…I’ll be happy for her that she’s finally walking again and will never see her wheelchair again. I love my mom and I just want her to be happy again.
The best part of my weekend was coming home to my girls. Hannah, who didn’t want to be in any pictures mind you, was so glad I was home and asked if I was glad to be back in my own bed. Yes, honey, so very glad.
And Livie pretty much acted like I wasn’t even gone and continued on with her normal daily activities like walking the dogs around the house on their leashes.
And playing with Bella.
Emotionally yes, I’m drained but I’m also recharged. Seeing my family recharged me. Getting back home to The Man and my girls also recharged me. I’m so grateful I was able to get back to Cleveland and be there for such a monumental goodbye to my grandma.
I say it all the time but we have to live our lives….we only get one shot at it.
Make the best of it, y’all.
I know you’ve had these moments before…the kind that stop you dead in your tracks and they take you back to a memory or a time that feels like you just lived it yesterday and not years ago.
This weekend we had family and friends over. We laughed and ate and had fun. We took pictures. But today I just wasn’t feeling it to blog about it or even post the pictures.
I’m addicted to the show Glee. And on that show last season they sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It’s that newer version of the song that’s so pretty and if you click on that link you can see it. So I’ve been downloading songs from iTunes for my phone from Glee and I listen to them anytime I need a pick me up because the music from that show is just amazing. I was driving and that song came on. All of a sudden I was transported to about 20 years ago and I could see this all clear as day in front of me as I drove.
My dad was there playing his guitar singing this song….the Wizard of Oz version. I could see him close his eyes and I could hear his voice and I could see his fingers on the strings. I don’t know how I kept driving to be honest because all I could see or hear was this moment. I snapped out of it when a tear rolled down my cheek. Just one tear but a sad one nonetheless. My dad wasn’t a huge part of my life to be honest and I mourn that fact everyday. So many days go by where I don’t think of him. He wasn’t involved in the day to day things like The Man is or my girls are that God forbid, if something should happen to them, I’d think about them every second because so much of my day revolves around them. And I guess that’s why this all caught me off guard and upset me so much. Out of nowhere my dad showed up….a vivid, colorful memory that I probably haven’t thought about again since it actually happened.
It was nice.
And I truly feel that for some reason he was there in my car letting me know that he’s thinking about me too and he picked that moment to let me know.
It was nice, that moment. That’s what’s on my mind today.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I won’t be blogging tomorrow. I usually do blog on my birthday but I think this year I’m gonna take a break from it. Every year for the past 3 years my birthday has been bittersweet. I’ve always loved my birthday. I think celebrating birthdays is so awesome. A lot of people don’t like to make big deals out of their birthdays and I’ve never been able to understand that. You should celebrate. It’s another year you’ve been alive and another year you’ve added to your story. It’s not always been an easy life for me and yet, each year, I was always excited for my birthday. 3 years ago I was excited for it too. Except that when I woke up that morning, I had no idea that 3 hours later I would get a phone call that my dad had died suddenly in surgery. It was such a blow and I was in denial about it for weeks. I drove home to Ohio. I went to his funeral. I buried my dad. Then I got angry for a while thinking about everything I missed out on because of his mistakes. Then I got sad. And I blogged this on his birthday a few months ago. And since then I’ve dreaded tomorrow. Except I was fine all week long. I was actually excited for my birthday. My girls were being so cute at home…being so sweet to eachother and making me feel so full of love…full of life.
I got to work this morning and the girls at work “decorated” for my big day, Justin Bieber style. Total gag as I don’t like Justin Bieber. I mean, I don’t NOT like him but I’m not a crazed fan or anything like they portrayed me to be.
So I laughed and cut up and got excited again for tomorrow.
Until I opened up this blog to start writing. I planned on writing about how sweet Hannah was to let Livie lay on her and fall asleep and how sweet Livie was to even WANT to go cuddle with Hannah. Hannah was so proud and told me she’d get her to sleep every night if Livie would let her. I sat here and planned to focus on that so I wouldn’t have to think about what I’ve not thought about all week…..
But I couldn’t help it. I sat here staring at the screen and thinking about my dad. I read this post and teared up. So I began my yearly tradition since he died of finding pictures to post here and then I got upset again because I have like 5. I know I have some from when I was a kid but recent ones since my wedding…5. That makes me wanna curl up in a ball and cry all day long. I’m so mad at myself for not realizing sooner that he was sick and while he chose drinking, he didn’t choose to hurt me the way he did. He tried…REALLY tried with me and I turned him away. I wrote long letters to him telling him he was a horrible dad. I was mean to him when he called me and told him to quit drinking if he wanted to talk to me. Now he’s gone and I’m left feeling this with no dad to say sorry to. GOSH. I hate this all. The yearly repetition of feeling this way. And I feel like it’s going to get worse before it gets better…before I feel at peace about it.
So, yes, tomorrow is my birthday. And I’ll celebrate with my family because they love me and I’m grateful for another year here on this earth. But at night, when it’s just me and my thoughts, I’ll cry. Because I miss my dad.
And he doesn’t know.