We always knew Dad would be the first to die instead of Gertie. Dad had everything from diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, unnatural rhythm in his heart, prostate cancer, and the beginning of dementia. For crying out loud he took over 20 different medicines a day to keep him alive! All Gertie had was a thyroid issues, COPD, and emphysema – the last two she would not admit too. Dad had a major heart attack in 2009. The VA doctors in Albuquerque, NM told me to expect him to live maybe 1-2 years. His arteries were so hard the doctors said “they are like cement”. There was nothing they could do, no by-pass, stints, or any new procedure all they could do would be to open it up the arteries to 70%, put him on a blood thinner (which is a complete nightmare), and sent him home to die. That was a hard day to hear that news. You never want a doctor to say “that’s all I can do.” I went back to my hotel room and cried out to the Lord. I begged the Lord to please let my Daddy live until John was 7. Looking back I don’t know why I chose 7 but I really wanted John to have great memories of his PawPaw. I never had Grandparents. All of them except one was dead by the time I came around. So the bonding of my Daddy and my son would become even closer.
PawPaw would never let me discipline John. That was his boy. Randy and I would later come up with the nickname Bub or Bubby and coincidently that was my Dad’s nickname from his parents.
But even his love for Bubby and then Christina would never compare to the love he had for my Mother. As Mom aged and Alzheimer's was began to rear it’s ugly head she began to be very mean, angry and very hateful to my Father. It would tear my heart out to see her say and do mean things to him. I could handle it towards myself but not at my Daddy. One of the last doctor’s appointment I went on with Mom she started knocking my Dad down so I just excused myself from the room. She would later ask why I did that and I told her that I just couldn’t take her running my Daddy down anymore. I would be alone at the VA with my Daddy and ask him if he needed to vent, that I was there for him. Mom was just being so mean and such a bitch! He looked at me cross-ways and said - “shut your damn mouth! She was my girlfriend before she was your Mother and she’s my girl!”
My Daddy would go to his grave without saying one nasty, mean, or any disparaging remark about his girl – my Mother. To that – I am humbled.When Mom died on February 21st we all thought Dad might live another 4-5 months top. They were together 60+ years, more than half their life-time.
The last 10 months have been very bittersweet for me and my family. I have spent so much time at the VA I think I am going to start volunteering there once a week – I know where everything is and I know just about all the paperwork and hoops you have to jump through plus I know many of the people out there! I would cook almost every night and Randy would pick Dad up while I sat the table. We would usually always play rummy after dinner but I could tell Dad was fading and slipping away from me. He would ask me over and over why did Mom die and how long had she been dead? He was retelling old family stories that I had never heard. But why wasn’t God easing his pain? And…Dad would tell me everyday how much he loved me. It would break my heart to take him to see Mom because he would cry and I would have to carry him back to the truck. Then Dad started to fall all the time. He once fell in the backyard by his self and it took him over two hours to get enough energy to crawl to a post to pick his self up off the ground. (Of course the old coot would not wear his help button or carry his cellphone) But why wasn’t God easing his pain? Then he started having potty issues, mixing up his medicines, and letting anyone who rang the doorbell just come on in. The pain of losing my Mother was there everyday, I hope she knows just how much he loved her. But why wasn’t God easing his pain?
In late November my Daddy had a dream that woke him up at 3:00am, he called me at 7:30 really shook-up. In his dream he saw my Mom, Aunt Pat, his Grandparents, and parents all standing beside a riverbank telling him to “just come on Allen!” I asked my Daddy if he was scared of dying and he said no. Then I asked him again who was Jesus Christ to him? And he said “well I am not stupid!” And I said “let me hear you say it – Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior”. He said it. I then told him to go home, don’t fear death, this is not our home, me and the little hares will be just fine, go home Daddy – they are waiting for you. And I will be there someday too – much thinner with long flowing hair! Once again dear Sweet Jesus ease his pain!
On Monday, December 15th I sent both my brothers the same text message. The 17th would’ve been Mom and Dad’s 59th wedding anniversary, please don’t call Dad, mention it, or even call. I want to sweep the day under the rug and move on straight to Christmas. I had it all planned out – it was going to be just a normal ordinary day. I had been dreading this day Dec 17th for at least a month not knowing what to expect.
I had seen Dad the evening of the 15th. He was having trouble with his furnace. He was very joyful and cut up with me a bit. He once again told me he loved me and I told him I loved him more.
The next day the 16th Randy was going over to Dad’s house to check the furnace again. I had called several times that day with no answer. It was a pretty day and he usually like to be outside swinging. I didn’t think anything about it. When we walked into the house my parents bedroom is directly on the right. I just glanced cause I was going to the backyard when I heard Randy cry out “Oh my God”. I knew. By the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes and the tears already swelling in my big man’s eyes – my Daddy was dead. My Daddy was gone and Jesus has eased his pain. He died just in time to celebrate his 59th wedding anniversary with his sweetheart and he died just how he wanted to – in his own bed.I am happy God eased his pain and put him back together with my Mother and all of his family.
I know I should just “get over it”! But this one….this one…is going to take a little bit of time. We all grieve differently. We all have different relationships. My Daddy was the first man I ever loved and he loved me unconditionally until the day he died.
My Mom loved to tell me that when I was only a few months old her and Daddy were loving on me and Daddy said “I must be doing something right for God to give me a Tina”. Well Daddy – God did right in making you my Daddy.