Category Archives: Book Update
All kinds of words.
Big, flowery, no-one-knows-what-they-mean-anymore words.
Small, succinct, take-your-breath-away words.
I love them.
I take them with me everywhere I go – to the park, to the store, in my car as I drive around this massive Metroplex.
Some words taste good, others are bitter, and some make me physically ill.
But, good, bad, big, small, sweet or bitter I love them all.
I don’t have a favorite, that wouldn’t be right. I do, however, have some I detest. I find it particularly satisfying when I can substitute a word I don’t like for something less offensive. It makes me feel as though I’ve expanded the word universe – albeit in a very small way.
I’m currently trying to take my big basket of words and form them into sentences, paragraphs, chapters to explain the last few years I spent with Daddy.
Most of these words are so powerful they prevent my getting past them. Often, this impedes progress, but these words will not be ignored.
They will not be glossed over. They will be dealt with. They will be reckoned with.
And they will not be happy until I have paid them their due.
It is a painful, heartbreaking, process.
I’m just glad that the words, sometimes my friends, sometimes my enemies, are always my companions.
Dad took the pencil in his hand and stared blankly at the paper.
“Daddy, draw a clock face.”
“Mr. XXXXX, do you know how to draw a clock face?”
“I don’t never draw nothin’.” Dad said, shoving the paper back at the doctor.
“Okay, I’ll start it for you.” The doctor said, as he drew a circle on the paper, and slid the paper and pencil back across the table to Dad.
“You can do this, XXX.” XXXX said and I gave her a look that would wilt flowers. She stopped before saying anything else.
I put my hand on Dad’s arm, and gently said, “Daddy, it’s okay. This isn’t a pass/fail kind of test.”
I’m finding that as I begin to write the memories and feelings come flooding in and overwhelm me. I’ve decided that instead of my usual write-as-you-go style, I’m going to start writing down notes and points to plot on the timeline. For some reason, it’s important to me that I get things as they happened in order…..I mean exactly, and I’m working mostly from memory here. Dad’s girlfriend is nowhere to be found, but my sister is helping fill in some fo the gaps. I think she’s as excited about this project as I am.
Okay, this is what I have so far….
Daddy’s death was a shock. Not in the fact that he died, but rather in the manner in which he died.
It wasn’t all rainbow-pooping unicorns where the dying patient simply slows their breathing and then stops altogether all the while looking like they just stepped off a magazine cover.
It was brutal, raw, loud, excruciating to watch and is now forever emblazoned on my heart and my brain.
In some ways, the heartbreak of watching him die was a lot like the heartbreak of watching him leave me when I was six years old.
The difference being that even at six I knew he was just a phone call away.
Now, his body lays in a grave in a national cemetery. Daddy was a U.S. Army veteran during peacetime, and he served because it was expected of him. He left when his four years were up, and he never looked back.
He did that a lot.
Never looking back.
The one exception was me.
He tried hard not to, from the moment when Mom told him she was pregnant and he responded with “Shit! I don’t want kids”, to the years he avoided being anything remotely resembling a father, he tried very hard.
I think by the time my half-sister came along, Daddy had resigned himself to the fact that sometimes you are a father like it or not.
Not that much effort went into her upbringing either.
Still, we loved him white hot and fierce because..well, because that’s what most little girls do. They worship, adore and love their daddies with complete abandon.
So, it was with us.
And, it made this journey so much harder than either of us thought it would be.
This isn’t a tribute to a doting father. This is a raw, real, sometimes funny, look at what it’s like to deal with an 8-yr. old who shaves.