One Year LaterWARNING: This may be a very uncomfortable post for some of you to read, but this is a huge day for me and I feel that I need to share it. Read at your own risk.
It has been one year since my dad has passed away. I keep replaying that day in my head and I wonder what his last moments were like. I keep replaying the phone call from my uncle. I never get phone calls from family during the day unless they are coming to Portland soon or unless something's wrong. I could hear it in his voice that something was wrong, but I cheerily asked him if he was in Portland. When he said no, I asked him where he was. He asked me if my boss was here at work with me. I said no. I asked why and he asked me if any of my coworkers were here. I replied yes and he told me to give the phone to someone. By the time I got up and walked 10 feet to my coworker's desk, tears were streaming down my face. I was sure that something had happened to my grandmother or grandfather.
I handed my cell phone to Kerry, my coworker. I told him that it was my uncle and that he needed to speak to him. He answered and then said "ok" a couple of times and then handed it back to me. I don't remember exactly what my uncle said to me, but I remember saying, "NO! NO! NO!" I don't remember much about the next while- I remember crying on the stairs and seeing my phone by the front door of our office. I can't imagine how hard it was for my uncle to tell his niece that her father has just died. And I can't imagine what it was like for him to tell his mother and father that their son has died- he answered the phone at my grandma's when the call came. That must have been one of the hardest things he has ever done.
I went to my pickup and called my mom. She was so happy to see on the caller id that it was me- she said "Hello!" so happily. I was sobbing and I just said, "Mom, dad died." She asked me, "What?!" and so I said it again.... and she just kept saying, "Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God! No! No! No!" as she became just as hysterical as I was. Her state was not helping me at all, so I had to hang up. I eventually drove home. I could barely see I was crying so hard.
Eventually, I went to the store across the street from my apartment- I had just moved in two weeks before. I bought a big bottle of Excedrin Tension Headache, a big bottle of Tylenol PM and a big box of Puffs Plus. Being in public in a state like that is absolutely horrible. I am so grateful that those "bug eye" sunglasses were the trend.
I couldn't think straight. I went through all my things (some boxes not even unpacked yet) trying to find photos, objects that he had given me and things that reminded me of him. I found some photos and other little things from trips we had taken. I relived each one of our trips. We always had so much fun. I loved sleeping in his semi truck and visiting St. Regis and the Silver Dollar Bar in Montana on our way to Oregon. He was always the one who took me places and made sure that I saw everywhere that I wanted to see.
I talked to everyone in my family. I took a bath. Some of my friends called but I just couldn't talk to them so I let them leave messages. I finally got up the nerve to call dad's cell phone so I could hear his voice. His girlfriend Dona answered. She told me everything. I know she wasn't thinking when she told me all the details. It was painful and I know I should have cut her off or something, but I wanted to know more even though it was so painful. I asked her to not answer the next call because I was going to call back and I wanted to hear his voice on the voice mail. I can't imagine what it was like to be there when it happened, to see someone that you love suffer and pass away right in front of you. I was relieved that my dad was not alone when he died.
I think about all that has happened in a year and I know that my dad would be proud of me and that he would have supported me in whatever decisions I made. He never questioned me, he just always trusted in me and my abilities. I have learned and grown so much and I believe that I have changed for the better. It took me so long to be able to BE and be able to SEE the positive things and to celebrate my dad. Although my dad's death was the most traumatic thing that has happened to me, I am a much stronger person for going through this all. I am proud of where and who I am because I know my dad would be proud and that he, directly or indirectly, has helped me get to where I am. I am so grateful to have had him in my life for as long as I did.
I miss him and his unforgettable laugh so much.