I wrote this on Monday. It seems like a lifetime ago already…I’m still so tired and still so emotional so this probably won’t be the last post about this.
I decided that I needed you. I needed to tell you. I needed to see your face. I needed to see you. For the first time, really. I needed to see you.
I went to you this morning. I arrived at 8:00. It wasn’t a long drive. I wanted to vomit the entire time. I couldn’t eat before I left. I couldn’t wait for coffee. I was afraid if I didn’t go I would become too afraid. I had a panic attack in my husband’s embrace. I drove and begged my mind to be silent. I focused on my breathing while ignoring the shaking of my hands. I tried to let my mind be silent. I tried.
When I arrived, there were people I didn’t know. I mean, I knew them at one time, I suppose, but they are strangers to me now. Still, they opened up their home to me so that I could see you.
Mellissa was there to support me. She was there to guide me. She was there to be strong for me, if I needed it, even though she is a stranger to me too. She didn’t want me to be alone which I was grateful for.
She showed me to you. You were there, in a bed that hospitals use. The ones where the remote attached makes it move. It helps to make people more comfortable, to make death more comfortable.
You were so frail. So small. So sunken. Your body was skin and bones. Your eyes, hollow.
She left me with you. She had called me to warn that the cancer had done a number on you. You didn’t look like you anymore. But I didn’t know what you looked like before, not really.
I sat in a chair by your side, I held your hand. I held your hand and I cried. It was a meeting I had been waiting for my entire life, though the circumstances weren’t as I had planned. Seeing you, being near you. It’s all I ever wanted. I have been crying over you for the better part of a year. I have been fighting for the majority of my life but this year, especially has been so hard.
Now I have so many regrets. But I can’t live in the past. I can’t let it consume me. But still, what if I had just gone sooner? What if I had not been so stubborn? So scared? What if you could have said what you needed to say?
I told you I forgive you. I told you I am sorry too. I told you about my children, your grandchildren. I told you it was okay to go. I told you it was okay to stop the pain. I told you it was okay to forgive yourself. I told you I know it wasn’t what you wanted. I told you I wished we had more time. I told you I wish I had gotten to know you, and that you had gotten to know me. I held your hand and sat by your side for an hour. You couldn’t speak any longer. I’m not sure if you could really see me. But I told you what I needed to. You squeezed my hand. You had tears in your eyes. I said goodbye to you, and I kissed your head. I told you it was okay to go. You saw me, then, I’m sure of it. I’m feeling guilty that I didn’t sit with you longer. I should have sat with you longer.
Instead I went downstairs. Your brother, my uncle, asked me to sit with him. My aunt joined us. And my cousin, Mellissa, was there as well. They told me about you. They told me about your alcoholism and how consuming it was. They told me how lowly you thought of yourself. How you didn’t want me to see you that way. I understand now. I understand so much more. They told me about the useless knowledge you had stored away in that brain of yours, the brain that was affected by cancer. They told me how you loved me, and my mom, all these years. How you wanted to talk to me when you would see me at the bank. But you would say you “fucked up” and you didn’t know what to say. You just didn’t know how.
I understand. I didn’t know how either. But now I wish I had tried harder. I wish I had sent you all those birthday cards I had thought about sending. All the letters I had written. I wish you had known that I didn’t give up on the hope that we would reunite.
Less than an hour later, I was still there, sitting in the house you had lived in for the past eight or nine years, and you passed. You found peace and you passed. I will never know you. I still want to know you, though, and I feel like life has been very unfair.
You were my dad at one time. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, if it weren’t for your love for my mom. I wouldn’t be me.
I have so much healing to do. I have been trying to heal all of these years. But now I have to heal in a different way.
I went back upstairs to say goodbye for the last time. You looked peaceful. Your suffering was over. All of the pain you have held all of these years, was gone.
I’m so sorry for all of the things you missed. For all of the things you wanted to be there for. I’m so sorry that you had to suffer all those years too. Right along with me. The same pain, together, but apart.
After everything, I have always loved you. Not knowing you has been the biggest heartbreak of my life, one I’m not sure I will ever recover from. I will try to move forward now, to live knowing that you loved me too.
I miss you still. I miss you always. I miss the idea of you being in my life. The hope that we would some day be able to talk, to work it out, to have a relationship. The hope is gone, you are gone, and my heart is so heavy.
My biggest hope, now, is that you know you are truly forgiven. I hope you left this world knowing that I am not angry with you. I hope you were able to find forgiveness in those short moments you had left. I hope I brought you a moment of connection and love that we both have been missing for 29 years.
I’m just so sorry. And so sad. And I don’t even know how to end this because there is so much else I want to say. But for now, I guess, it is goodbye. I’m so glad I made the decision I did.