This is more of a memorial post than anything else, and one that I hold most deepest to me, so going into it, though painful, this is probably one of the most heartfelt things I may ever post.
It’s been almost a year and a half since my dad passed away in his fight against Melanoma. He fought a massive battle for nine months since he was diagnosed with Stage 3C. The news shook me to my soul, I had no idea how to feel about it. My dad was the strongest man I’ve ever known. He was a handy man and “Jackized” everything no matter what. I will never forget the bacon splatter guard he made, all the times he would work on my Jeep, when he tore apart all the rooms in the house and redid them, when he rebuilt the entire kitchen by hand (literally built the table, cabinets, everything), when he would just look at something random and make it into something completely new… The list just goes on and on.
I found out later that he had let it go for three years before finally having it checked. Once diagnosed, it had gotten into his lymph nodes and he needed to have three major surgeries within 6 months. He had a horrible infection, took massive amounts of medications, and found out that he had a genetic string of it that some “miracle drug” could actually fix. Though, once he started the medication, the cancer had completely taken over his body and he was no longer himself. We feel that he had accepted that he was going to go. He had a couple conversations with me and I refused to accept that he was going to die. I had it in my head that he couldn’t. So needless to say the day it happened, I didn’t know what to think and went into major denial. My mom had told him the night before she was going on FMLA so that she could stay home and be with him, and we all kinda think he just didn’t want her to have to do that, didn’t want us to go through anymore, and that he just couldn’t stand being in the state he was in. He was 69 years young, and I truly mean that statement.
My favorite memories of him are the little things, the little moments that we shared. We had our time of the day when I would come home from high school, he would be in his recliner with either a scotch or beer and the two of us would just chit chat with some sort of History show/movie on in the background. That was our time. I loved riding in his truck with him, even when I was in college and he would pick me up. His advice to me was always short, but meaningful. He would always say exactly what was on his mind and was right to the point but it always stuck with me. He was my sweet, quiet, giant. My oak tree. He always kept me grounded and when my mom and I would bicker, he would always keep me cool just telling me to listen to my tone, relax, and just remember it was just because she loved me.
I wish more than anything he was here now, it’s what I wish for each birthday and each Christmas, silently but the whole family wishes the same. No holiday or family occasion is the same anymore because we don’t have him sitting at the head of the table or just silently listening to everyone. His laugh just rings in my head at the small things. I will never forget the “Dad look” either. He would just have his hands folded, had a smirk on his face, and he would look over his glasses, and his little wave. It was the last physical image I have of him just before he went.
That whole experience is one all in it’s own, as I stayed home that day to go with my mom to take him to a doctor’s appointment, and one that will never ever leave my memories, and not a good one. Though I was the last person he saw before he went, it still is the hardest most traumatizing moment in my life thus far but all I can take from it is, that I was one of the last people he saw aside from my mom. And it was that smirk a little wave and 20 minutes later…my life changed forever.
Last night I was at my mom’s, and I started going through some of my stuff that I had left there while I was waiting for her to come home and I found some pictures, though dated, still ones that I will display always and a note that he hand wrote to me and hid in my bag for me when I moved into college my freshman year. I’ve always had a hard time with accepting that I never got to say goodbye as it was all over in the blink of an eye, but this note said everything I could ever want to hear from him. I won’t go into the details because, well, that’s for me, my one piece of my dad’s heart that I have written out to remind me of what I meant to him and all that he hoped of me to accomplish. I now feel at peace and have a sense of closure. I’m in a much better state of mind, and so happy that I keep little things like that.
I miss you so much Dad, but I’m so happy that you are out of pain and in a much more beautiful place watching down on me always. I love you to the moon and back. Sleep tight, sweet dreams, I love you, goodnight…<3