Grief, Fathers, Change, Life

It's 12:52 a.m. and I've been sobbing for a half hour. This Sunday, November 10 2013 is the fourteenth anniversary of my fathers death. It breaks my heart every day because I miss him more than you can know. He was my friend, my mentor, my hero, my dear old dad.

And I let him down.

He had a stroke, two heart attacks and died twice on the operating table during knee surgery. The knee surgery he was having because he wanted to be more mobile for his family. I remember standing in the waiting room at the hospital in my work uniform prepared for the worst. When they brought him back his soul had gone walkabout. I remember realizing that he had very well known that he might never be coming home. I thank the heavens every single day that the last thing I ever said to him was 'I love you, dad.'

But I let him down.

Have you ever seen what a stroke does to someone? It can simply wipe them away. He lived on for three years in the nursing home, this man who looked like my father but wasn't present. His soul roaming the earth while we looked on, waiting day after day for what would come next. For some people death comes too quickly. For us, it changed our lives in the worst way, dragging on while we tried to pretend everything was fine. Daily visits to the hospital. My sisters moving away. Grief counselling, which I am still pissed about because that woman was awful. Awful. The struggle for life to move on, but it couldn't, not really, when our beloved lingered on in such a way.

I stopped going so often to the home.

You see, I couldn't do it. I couldn't bear it. To see the strongest man I ever knew knocked down in such a way. To see my younger brothers observing him in this way, they were so young and everyday after school they went to see him. It was painful to see my mother every day with that hope, that hope that he would come round, that he would come back, that he would be her husband and our Father again. He wasn't on machines, he was just so physically strong that he lived anyway, the very reason we never imagined him gone.

I died a little every time I saw him.

One evening I came in and he looked me in the eye. His hands moved with excitement. He said "aughter! aughter, aughter, aughter!!" Daughter. He knew me, he hadn't known me in a long time.

I died. I just died inside because I knew that it couldn't last. It was a moment, this moment when he was looking at me, his beautiful eyes so clear, my dad, and I knew that the next day all recognition would be gone. As I sat with him he was so happy. I could not rejoice because I was dying a little more knowing my dad was no longer my dad and my dad meant the world to me. I am the worst daughter ever in the history of daughters because I left him alone in that place, because I felt so alone without him, even though I know he would have sat at my bedside every single day for the rest of his life because that is how much he loved me, each of us, really.

I betrayed my father in the worst way.

It's 1:10 am and I cover my mouth my hand so I don't cry out. My pain is this wound that might never heal. I'm getting a headache from typing in the dark. I am guilty of a grievous sin. My brother barely recalls him, being only 8 or 9 when he died. I try to tell him, daddy loved you so much. He wanted the best for you. He thought each of us was a miracle in his life. But they are only words.

I am still alone, the only child he raised from the ground up, the only child who was so devoted to him that still, all these years later, my heart is breaking. This man who worked as a crossing guard so he could be home to help me with my homework. The man who made chicken soup and had dry towels waiting on rainy days, who got up at 3 am when I was sick and who cared for a bunch of motley children that weren't even related to him by blood.

I weep because blood makes no difference to me. He was my father, heart and soul and I can never beg him to forgive me for abandoning him. For all the questions I never asked. For all the days we never got. It is the anniversary of my fathers death and because of his existence in my life, I will never be the same.


  1. Oh Luna you honor him beautifully by remembering him so well and carrying on his legacy of love. Stop beating yourself up.

  2. Luna. We all come here for various reasons, and whatever his reason was for being in that state, in that home, he truly wasn't himself most of the time. You did what you could, you were overwhelmed, and believe me when I say every child - EVERY CHILD - young or old has issues and questions that will never be resolved when a parent passes away. I was 45 and 55 when my dad and mother died. My daughter was barely 17 when her dad died. We each are haunted by the issues and questions and more, but there comes a day when the peace returns and it's truly all right. Forgive yourself, please, forgive yourself. Much love - Sue

  3. If I recall you did what you thought needed to be done to help your family survive financially and became a strong support for your brothers and your mom. It sounds as if you were being what he would have wanted you to be. Losing such a special person can make us sad beyond words but I know he would want you to live your life with passion. To be happy. More than he would have wanted you to see him struggle. Love you girly

  4. Sweet Luna, life is made up of moments. Cherish the one you have. Your dad loved you. You didn't fail him. But I know my words won't heal your heart, but know that it will be healed.

  5. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time comment. This writing really lifted something off my heart. It was just what I needed to be able to move through that and I thank you for bearing witness. <3