So far this year, I had a foster experience that was traumatic, I had the flu and then strep throat, and my dad died.
After being sick for weeks I was scheduled to go back to work on Friday Feb 9th. Instead I get a call that my dad is on life support. So we drove down to Florida- a long 20hr drive. Three hours after we arrived he was removed from the ventilator.
A series of unfortunate medical events meant my dad struggled unnecessarily and did not die peacefully. It took about 17 hours for him to pass away and I wouldn’t call it normal or routine. I imagine my step-mom, sister, or aunt will sue the hospital for their treatment of him prior to removing the ventilator and afterward. Having witnessed someone pass peacefully with hospice, I can tell you this was NOT that. There was zero comfort, no gentle night. Everyone there was traumatized by the experience and is angry.
So, dad died on Sunday. There’s a funeral in Florida on Saturday but none of his older kids will be present as we all had to get back to work. There will be a memorial in Alabama in May during a time when our family gets together to honor the dead. So, it’s appropriate and it’s where he wants his ashes spread. I’m working on my step-mom to coordinate it as she would prefer to do a small immediate family only kind of celebration since she’s having her big thing this weekend. Everyone is so sensitive and awkward. It’s hard to grieve.
People ask how I’m doing and I’m stuck with no clear answer. I was never a daddy’s girl, I was his cast away, the ignored middle child. Truly, he lived a life completely apart from me. After my parents split 24yrs ago, I was nothing to him. He didn’t call, he didn’t visit, he took no initiative. My brother lived with him and he treated him like a leech he couldn’t get away from soon enough. My sister, the oldest, maintains our father as the best man ever. They must have some bond none of us knew or saw. I’ve been in therapy working through my fears of my dad dying and how he never knew me. Then he actually fucking died and my fears became reality. I try so hard to connect with him, go on vacations to see him and our family, try to tell him about my life but he was not receptive. I am sad for the dad he wasn’t but kind of grateful that my kid won’t have to deal with his detached parent/grandparent style. No other kids will know his disinterest in their accomplishments. I just have to move past thinking how shitty he always was and then he died without us ever really talking about it or finding a way to connect.
My dad wasn’t one to ask questions about our lives. He and I never discussed the foster kid we had for two weeks or the visits we have been having with the 12yr old girl. He never expressed interest in anything I was doing, really. But now his wife and one of aunts want to comfort me by saying how excited he was for our parenting adventure and adoption. What the hell? What did he know about me and my life?
We were estranged for years after I came out. He couldn’t deal with that and neither could his wife. It’s always been a very tricky situation with us and one we have been able to ignore in the past ten years since I began a relationship with C. I think my dad thought I had finally met the right man to turn me around…if he only knew. I guess that gave him some comfort that I wasn’t really a lesbian, I don’t know. I’m so frustrated about all the things we never talked about or worked through. He was 59 years old and in poor health so I shouldn’t have expected him to live forever but coming to terms with him dying right now is very difficult.