Posts Tagged With: father

standing in the rain, and waiting for the stream to settle

Today would have been my dad’s sixty-ninth birthday and I stood in the rain scattering his ashes in a place he loved to be.
I did this because his oldest and dearest friend came from Colorado to perform this act and he is the one who chose the date. He felt it was a good way to honor my dad, the anniversary of his birth. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I did it because it was what my dad wanted, and he wanted his friend involved. I’d known this for years so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. They were cops together, I’ve know him since I was a teeny little thing, but you know how that goes, he’s close with my dad and I grow up and move on.
My heart wasn’t in it really, I was just going through the motions. But I’m OK with that because it wasn’t about me it was about my dad’s friend…and my dad. I am a good daughter.
I’m tired now it’s all over. It was cold and rainy which wasn’t physically comfy and it was emotionally exhausting. I want to get in the bathtub with my ipad for a bit of soaking and Netflix.

On the Thing 2 front, I finally had a good long conversation with my friend and mentor last night. She asked what my heart was telling me to do. I told her my gut said, make her come back, my heart is tired of fighting and my head pretty much wants the other two to get it together. She laughed. She reminded me I’m a “gut truster”. I agreed.
We talked a bit more and she told me I had been tromping back and forth in the stream and it was muddy and unclear, that perhaps I should sit by the stream and let the sediment fall to the bottom and wait for the water to clear. (Oh how I love this analogy!)
We talked a bit longer and she just wondered aloud where I was. I took a deep breath and said: I’m going to let it go and leave her where she is.
I feel good about that decision because instead of focusing on her, I decided to focus on me. I’m going crazy trying to decide what to do what’s best for her life and completely ignoring what’s best for my own.

This morning I had the most freeing thought.
I’m so worried about Thing 2’s future but I didn’t take into consideration that teenagers live in the now. So if she’s sad, lonely and uncomfortable here in this home, how successful can her future be?
I know her dad won’t hold her accountable, but perhaps she really can live happily in the now and STILL have a relatively successful future.
And that might be as positive as I’ll ever feel about it.
I lived in that horrible situation for years, trapped, scared and feeling unsafe. It hurt me physically and emotionally. If she FEELS safe, etc. then isn’t that actually “what’s best” for her?
I believe she stands a better chance here but I’m only going to focus on me and my future.
She’ll sort it out eventually. I believe I’ve done a good enough job raising her to have that faith.

And that’s how this portion of the story ends.
She will be responsible for ‘cleaning up her own mess’ and building her future and I’ll focus on my own future and just love her.

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Categories: death, loss, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

if wishes were horses, beggars could ride

Yesterday was hard and I felt quiet. YBW celebrated with Thing C and Thing G and we went to his nephew’s graduation party. I was quiet, I drank water and ate a tiny spoonful of banana pudding. We went home and watched a movie all snuggled together on the sofa before the boys went back home to their mom’s. (It’s her week.)
When the boys left, YBW hugged me and asked was I sad, was I thinking about my dad. No, not sad, no, not really thinking about my dad in the context of Father’s Day…I can’t stop thinking about him…about the mess he left behind…about how much work it is to clean it up and how much I don’t want to clean it up.

I got home from school right about 4:00 on Friday, went upstairs, took off my shoes, then my britches and before I could put on new ones, I fell asleep on my bed. YBW came home (I don’t know what time it was.) and checked to see if I wanted to get up. I tried and couldn’t…I just kept sleeping. He came back a few hours later asking if I wanted dinner. No thank you, and back to sleep. I got up at 8:00 and got a drink of water pulled my jammies on and went back to bed. I slept straight through till 8:00 Saturday morning.
I just want to stay in my bed all the time.

This is my last week in my classroom…I move to a new classroom in a different age-group next week…I came here and completely salvaged the two year old program and now have been asked to do the same for the three year old program. So when I clean up this mess…will I have salvaged myself out of a job?
There is a part of me that is eager to get it underway, the transformation of space and ‘wrangling’ of children, creating a sense of community…a classroom family if you will.
YBW told me it’s what I do best, organize and restructure and make it run smoothly…he says I like to see the progress. He’s right. I’m just not sure now is the best time…
What I do know is this: I’ll be successful and satisfied.

Sundance and I are currently texting, asking how the other is we each respond with: ‘Same as it ever was.’ I then wrote: ‘I’m so sick of same as it ever was. Yet I dread change.’ (I’m going to need for you to get it together, Robynbird.)

Today is the first day of a thirty day cleanse…my body has suffered my indifference long enough and needs to be taken good care of. I spent a goodly bit of money without much thought…but it felt right when I considered it. It’s not about weight as much as my health and way my clothes fit…this is about losing inches as well as weight…bring on the inches! (Well, take away the inches, but you know what I mean.)

My dad used to say: If wishes were horses, beggars could ride.

That’s cool, Daddie, but I’m going to wish and ride and eventually feel better in the process. Perhaps the cleansing of my body will somehow promote the cleansing of my soul?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

executrix…may I have another word please?

I found out this week that my dad’s ex-wife (not my mom) is the beneficiary on his life insurance through the police department.
(Would you like to see a container for my joy? Envision a teeny salt cellar spoon…only teenier…nope, still teenier…yes…right about there!)

I have read I can challenge the beneficiary but will need counsel. My cousin has hooked me up with someone she knows…but I have to pay $200 just to meet this woman. And I’m concerned that the ex wife will sue me for a copy of the death certificate…and win.
I would have that money sit and rot before I’d let her have it…so I need to decide how to move forward.

My brother is convinced there is “mortgage insurance” a policy somewhere that will pay the balance of the mortgage on our dad’s house so we can sell it free and clear…so far, I’ve found no evidence…but a close friend of Daddie’s has offered to purchase the house at fair market value, so we are leaning that direction…it would cover the mortgage as well as leave a bit of money for each of our pockets.
I’m inclined to put mine away for Things 1 and 2…but my brother wants me to be in a safer vehicle…mine isn’t unsafe, it’s just made by a manufacturer he doesn’t like.

I’m beginning to dislike the word executrix…specifically because it’s a new “label” for me…I don’t want the responsibility…the hassle…any of it really.
I am taking up the mantle because it was asked of me by my Daddie, he trusted me enough to be the responsible one…
He told me once he was sad I wasn’t his mommy…that I was such a wonderful mommy and he wished sometimes I could have been his mommy and he would know how well he was loved by the way I cared for him.
I’m not his mommy, but I can take care of these last things for him because he was well loved.
That’s what good daughters do.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

saying goodbye

I survived the twenty two days between the death of my dad and his memorial service.
I celebrated YBW’s birthday two days after he died, the arrival of Thing 2 on Mother’s Day, my own birthday the following day, Thing G’s confirmation the end of the same week, his birthday the very next day, the arrival of my estranged brother from the west coast, the arrival of Thing 1 and her fiancé two days later, and finally the memorial service yesterday.

Sundance says I’m a big brave girl and need new shoes…I got new shoes for the service, but I don’t think that’s what she had in mind…shoe shopping is on the agenda.

Yesterday was a very difficult day and the love I received truly held me up when I needed it most. Friends and family who came to grieve the absence of my dad from their lives were there because of the love they had for him. Friends and family came to support me in my grief because they love me. Family I have because of YBW, his brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, who are mine now too, Things C and G’s mom and her husband, they all came because we are family now. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my dearest friends from my ‘old’ preschool teaching days sneak into the back of the church, she came because she loves me…that’s the moment my tears began to flow.

The service was actually quite lovely, when I spoke of my dad, there was laughter and tears and love in that room. I hope I made him proud.
The pastor mentioned Daddie told him he was going to be disco dancing up the aisle after his hip healed…that will never happen, but I feel sure he’s dancing his ass off wherever he is.

I am exhausted but peaceful.
I am lifted up by love.
I am glad it’s over.

5.24.14

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

what I’ve decided to say about my dad

Even though we call him something different, we’re here to celebrate his life and the impact he had on us. I’m going to celebrate my version of him by telling stories.

The first real memory I have of my Daddie is sitting in his lap at Great-Grandma’s funeral, we sat behind a kind of sheer green curtain separated from the non-family who were at the service. I remember sitting in his lap and playing with his fingers. When I think of his hands, I think of how big his fingers were. His hands were strong and capable and built so many things, but they were also gentle, I remember him holding my hand when I was a little girl, also as a grown up woman, oh how I loved seeing those hands hold my babies.
Sometimes those hands would bust our butts…
I remember a particular incident involving my cousins, C and L, my brother E, and me. We were in the basement at Grandma’s house and the boys had the sword (Why four children under the age of 12 were allowed to play with a sword is still beyond me.) but the boys had the sword and were hitting the metal pole that supported the I beam, the cool part was that it was making an awesome clanking sound. I distinctly remember watching them and thinking we were going to get in trouble. L begged for a turn and they just kept ignoring her. But then I heard feet rapidly crossing the house above us heading for the stairs and that was the moment the boys decided to give the sword to L. And as Daddie burst through the door there was L, sword raised above her head making a huge battle cry and attacking the pole.
They boys thought they were clever, but L was the only one of us who didn’t get her ass beat that day. (I’m not sure why I got it, I just sat there…perhaps it’s because I didn’t stop them.)

When I was a teenager, Daddie was the “cool” dad and friends liked to hang out over our house. I never got that…but does any kid ever? Some friends and I were downstairs watching a movie and I realized one of the angel fish was floating in the aquarium so I shouted upstairs for Daddie to come get it, he came down, reached into the aquarium grabbed the dead fish and waved it around as though it was saying goodbye to all the other fish. My friends though he was hilarious, but I was just mortified.
Another time I came home and he was standing there with my bra in his hand: so I found this under the couch cushion downstairs.
Thinking quickly on my feet I replied: I took it off watching tv last night.
I suspected he knew I was lying, but was relieved when he went with me on it.
It was hard being the teenage daughter of a police officer…there wasn’t much I could get away with…and boys knew he had a gun…

When he taught me to drive stick he was convinced I was capable, but shouted at me the entire time until I finally gave up, stopped the truck in the middle of the street, pulled the emergency break, got out, slammed the door and walked back down the hill to home. We laughed about that as soon as he got home, I laughed as I wrote this. The stubborn apple didn’t fall far from the stubborn tree.

My Daddie loved being a grandfather. He loved spending time with his granddaughters, and when he couldn’t spend time with them he loved hearing about their exploits. He always asked about the girls, and was excited to hear what was going on in their lives. I found a note Thing 2 wrote to him four years ago when she was in the eighth grade, taped to the wall beside his desk. She decorated the card with tons of animal stickers because she and her grandfather both love animals. She actually wrote the card because she got new address labels and was excited to use them. When I brought the card home to her she was flooded with the memory of making and sending it to him, and she was so touched he kept it right near him where he could see it for so long.

Y’all know how much my dad loved his dogs.
Together, the six of them who went before him welcomed their daddy home when he left this world for the next. Three others were left behind but I have faith they will be reunited in time.
I’ve heard all kinds of stories of their walks and driving around and people looking forward to seeing them in the back of the truck. He loved taking them places and showing them off, they loved the attention they got in return. He was a spectacular dog dad and those dogs were so spoiled with love, but never to the point of rotten. He wouldn’t have had that. They were so well behaved, he oftentimes mused he would have liked for E and me to have been so well behaved.

Daddie adored his neighbors, and loved his community. I recently learned he was referred to as the Mayor of Reva.
Oh how that fits him! He was the first to make sure everyone was well sorted and had what they needed and he didn’t hesitate to offer a hand when someone he cared about needed help. He was proud to live there on the corner where he could keep watch over his neighbors and friends.
Weren’t we all so lucky to have such a man looking out for us?

My dad had so much love in him. He didn’t know exactly how to show it sometimes, but he loved each of us the best way he knew how.
His fear of being unloved was so great that he kept a secret for most of his life, when he finally told that secret, the way he loved changed. He was finally able to give and receive love with his entire self, and what a joy that was to behold!
When he told me he was gay, I told him I wasn’t surprised and if he was happy and had love in his life that was all I wanted for him.
When I told the girls, Thing 2 expressed she knew something was different, the last time she saw him, but didn’t realize what it was. She was glad he trusted us enough to share such an important truth. Thing 1 told me she was so proud of him, and she asked if it was bad if she said she thought she actually loved him even more after she knew. My response to her was how could it be bad to love someone more than you already did.
I was proud of Daddie for telling his biggest truth and embracing the love that came at him because of it. He was so frightened that he would be judged and become suddenly unloved I don’t think he could believe how much love and support was offered him.

The last time YBW and Daddie and I had lunch together, he was teasing us because we’re “so cute” together, that we’re so good for each other, that he hoped to find a love like we have discovered. He talked about how I was the truest me with YBW, that he hadn’t seen this Robynbird since I was a little girl, and he was sure that I was as wonderful for YBW as he is for me.
But then, he leaned across the table and told YBW: you know, I’m an ex-cop and if you hurt her, I can make it so your body is never found.
I said: DADDIE!
But YBW looked at him and smiled: you don’t scare me.
And my dad laughed, because he knew they had that moment of perfect understanding, where they both loved me and it was good.
I wished so much for him to find that special person to love him for who he was and help him be the best him he could be.
Perhaps for him that truest love is between him and his God.

I’ve experienced so many feelings in the last twenty two days. The initial shock and disbelief, and then the beautiful agony of seeing his body before they took it from his home, a blessing for which I will be eternally grateful. The pressure in my chest when the realization hit me, the pain of having to share this news with the people I love most, as well as people I hardly know. The love and support that has come to me and my family is overwhelming. Moments of remembering which cause wild cackling laughter, and those that bring the flood of tears. Helping my babies grieve the loss of their grandfather, and allowing them to help me grieve my own loss. The joy of reconnecting with my brother and feeling awful that this is the reason why. I have cried silent tears and huge gut wrenching sobs. I am an orphan now. It doesn’t seem fair. I’m selfish, I want my Daddie and he’s never coming back. My sadness has created physical pain, the exhaustion seems never ending…
All these feelings churning inside me as I grieve the loss of my dad, but one feeling has come up more than any. One feeling surrounds all the others.
Peace.
I feel peaceful.
I am peaceful in my grief.

My dad lived his life. He loved and learned and lost.
He went from this life so quickly, just the way he would have wanted.
He wanted nothing but love and peace. And that’s what he has now.
We will continue to grieve, we are selfish, I am selfish, I want to have him here with me.
But he will always be with me. Because we loved each other and that love will always be ours.
That love brings me peace.
I wish each of you the peace I feel.

Categories: death, loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

a good daughter

I’ve been sitting in hospital all day waiting…waiting…waiting…
(Perhaps I’ve mentioned patience is not my most marked characteristic?)

I’m waiting because that’s what good daughters do. A good daughter waits while her dad has his hip replaced.
I am a good daughter.

A good daughter also identifies her dad’s body for the sheriff’s department before they can remove it from his home.
I am a good daughter.

I started this post on Tuesday while sitting in hospital…I came back to it Sunday after the entire world changed.

My dad was found dead in his bed Friday morning by the home health physical therapist that came to do his initial intake after he came home from hospital. When I got there, she was long gone but the sheriff deputies were waiting for me.
When I asked if I could see him the first response was to ask if I really wanted to see him and then they told me I wasn’t allowed to touch anything.
(My hackles immediately go up, I’m thinking: that’s my Daddie I’ll touch him if I damn well please.)
They tell me they have to stand in the doorway and watch me to make sure I don’t disturb anything. (Oh, I’m going to punch somebody in their mouth before this is over.)
The older sheriff’s deputy, who actually knew my dad, says: it’s OK sweetie, you can touch him.

What I wanted to do was crawl into bed with him and lie there for a little while before they took him away…but I was afraid that would make the deputies poop their pants. I touched his hand and leaned over and lay my head on his chest for a moment and then  stood up, looked at him, whispered: oh, Daddie, then I left the room and didn’t go back in until I was finally alone in the house.

I cannot express how grateful I am that I had that teeny moment with him. I was able to see that he didn’t suffer, that he looked peaceful…
I have never felt less like a grown up than I did on Friday, but I’ve never done more grown up things than I did on Friday.

I don’t know what I would have done without Sundance or YBW on Friday.
Poor YBW…I called him when I got the call and he was unavailable…my plan was to leave a message that sounded something like: Please call me when you get a chance.
When I heard his voice on the outgoing message, I completely lost it and screeched: My dad died! Please call me back!
Sundance and I were texting back and forth before I got the call…so when I couldn’t get YBW I called her, when she didn’t answer…I texted: Please answer the phone please.
Before I could call her again, she called me and what followed was chaos.

Thing 2 said: Oh Mommy, I wish I could hug you. I told her: I will get to hug you next week when you get here. (She’s coming for my birthday.)
Thing 1 was beside herself with grief and I couldn’t hold her.
Thing G was so kind to me, he never stopped touching me Friday night, with little pats on my arm or leg or back, and so many hugs. His kindness was truly overwhelming. That sweet little boy took such good care of me when I needed to hold my own babies, he’s my baby too now. Thing 1 was so happy Thing G was taking such good care of her mommy, she told me to please thank him and give him big hugs for her.

I go tomorrow to sign the papers for a private autopsy to determine cause of death and then must decide whether or not to pursue legal action…I am not that girl.
I will also be able to spend a little more time with my Daddie’s body.
My God, I’m exhausted.

I am now an orphan…but I’m still a good daughter.

Categories: death, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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