There are the BIG events that punctuate a life. A birth, a graduation, a wedding, a death…
The Hubby and I were watching a scene from the movie Braveheart last night where this little boy walks into his home, and finds his Dad dead on a table. The Hubby turns to me and says “Can you even Imagine finding your Dad dead?” To which I responded, “Why yes, yes I can actually!” He knew, as the words were leaving his lips that he wanted to suck them back in. We laughed at the irony of it.
I don’t think about it often, but lately I have. Maybe because it’s been 10 years, I don’t really know the reason.
You see, It was no big secret that my Mom and Dad had issues. It was no secret that my Dad was sick, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I was 27 and Mom had just moved out of the house, for good this time. Dad knew that she was not coming back and, he was really depressed. I went over to check on him and found him in his blue robe and boxer shorts on his lazy boy smoking a cigarette with an ash that was 3 inches long. That lazy boy had burn holes all over it from Dad falling asleep with lit cigarettes, often Mom and I would remove them from his hands when we knew he had passed out. Man, I HATE those chairs with an all out passion, they represent the dark times. The times that Dad would sit in that chair and do nothing but drink for days on end. Anyway, his beard was all scruffy and I am not sure how long it had been since he showered, but I could still see behind the puffy swelling, his big blue eyes searching for some sort of love or acceptance. I put on my happy face and said “Hi Daddy!, how long has it been since you’ve eaten?”, I threw open the blinds, turned off the TV and kissed him on the forehead. He said to me “She’s really gone this time isn’t she?” I responded with “Ya, Dad. She is.” He sobbed putting his scared hands over his face. He said “I have nothing left.” I, of course, told him not to be silly that he had Ruben and I and we’d always be here for him.
Looking around the house and fridge, I could tell he hadn’t eaten. The milk was sour and there were no dishes in the sink, so I decided to go to the market and fill up his fridge. As I was leaving the house that day, I told him I loved him and I’d check on him the next day. His last words to me were “I wish I just had a Gun.” It wasn’t the first time I’d heard my Dad talk of suicide. He would threaten it every single time My Mom and I left him, so I guess I didn’t really take it seriously. I kissed him on the forehead again and told him he didn’t really mean that and to stop it. Maybe I should have listened because for the next 2 days I kept calling the house and no one would answer. That was not like Dad. He would always be the first one to the phone always waiting for someone to talk to. He was very social, very likeable like that.
The Hubby had his own business at the time and he worked 24/7, we had only been married a little over a year with no kids so it allowed him lots of time to work. I popped over to his office and told him that I was going down to the house to check on my Dad. I told him that he hadn’t answered my calls in 2 days. The Hubby took one look at me, stood up and stated that he was going with me. I told him “no” (of course), that I was fine (as always) and that he had lots of work to do and I didn’t want to interrupt that. Thank goodness he didn’t listen to me.
The 30 min drive down was almost silent, I only remember one thing about it, the song on the radio. It was ALIVE by Pearl Jam. What eerie, lasting lyrics.
His car was in the driveway, phew! I thought. I pounded on the door yelling DAD! DAD! The only thing I heard was the dog barking, I had forgotten my key so we hopped the back fence and went around to the arcadia door, I saw him there in that chair, with the same blue robe and the same boxer shorts, asleep.
“Ruben, something doesn’t look right to me, (as I’m pulling frantically on the handle) damn, the door is locked!” Crawling through the doggie door to get in, I quickly unlocked the door for Ruben, took one look at my Dad, turned to Ruben and said “He’s dead.”
“No, he’s just passed out Anji.” Ruben said.
I touched him. He was ice cold. He was gone. He was only 52.
The rest of that day was a blur, I remember we called 911, my Mom, The Hubby’s family and, eventually we left. I was numb. Part of me was relieved that the total and utter drama and chaos that was my childhood was gone, and part of me felt guilty for not listening to my Dad when he said he wished he had a gun. About 2 months later, we were vacationing in Puerto Vallarta and I found out I was 2 months pregnant with Tommy. And, ironically, Lucas shares his birthday with the day my Dad died. No coincidences here, Dad. You are still alive in many ways and you have found a way to be in the middle of it all.
There are parts of my Dad I really miss and as time goes on, I am beginning to lose sight of some of the bad stuff, and remember the good stuff to share with my kids. Despite all of his issues, at heart my Dad was a good man, it’s all he wanted to be, but it was just too hard for him.