My last post about my dad was back in June. I just went back and read it about 3 times. Loved looking at the photos and remembering him how he was. He has always been the most influential man in my life. He lifted my self-esteem (Sami, you are my favorite!). He helped me grow great work ethics (It’s better to do a job right the first time then have to re-do the job) and a superb ability to out stubborn anyone (Sami, always admit when you are wrong, but if you are right, never back down). He developed in me a crazy ability to laugh at my own jokes, even if no one else did and to tell really, really terrible jokes (Little Johnny was in the classroom and had to go to the bathroom, he raised his hand and said…).
I am who I am because of him.
My Daddy was my hero. He was always there for me when I needed him. He listened to me and taught me so many things. But most of all he was fun.
No worries, he’s still here. But he’s aging, getting sick, being hospitalized, getting out, continuing on with his crazy life, going a little crazy at times, getting sick again, acting like a child, getting old, and just moving through life faster than I want him to.
Years ago he said to me as we were sitting in a dive bar in Spokane, “Sami, you see that young man walking through that door? How old do you think he is?” I looked at the young man walking in the bar and said, “Well he’s at least 21!” Dad said, “Yeah, at least 21! That’s how I see myself when I think of myself. Then I walk by a mirror and I think….who is that old man looking back at me. I can’t imagine it’s me. I never feel that way. I can’t imagine it’s me. I really can’t”
We both sort of laughed about it and moved on with our lives. Fast forward about 20 years. I feel what he felt sometimes. But I feel it more when i look at him now. Especially being so far away from him.
When I was working in Nepal, I had just gone through the earthquake and so was a little shattered and scattered and I happened to call him up. He didn’t sound like himself at all. I was convinced he had had a minor stroke. I rushed home as quickly as I could.. which is a feat.. let me tell you. The folks I worked for were super amazing and supported me through this emotional roller coaster. I arrived back in Spokane and for the most part it seemed like all was well and I had panicked for no reason at all. Except, every once in a while, he would sort of tear up. Right before I was due to leave for my next assignment, I met up with him and he looked ecstatic. I asked him why he was so darn happy all of a sudden. He told me he had received GREAT news from the doctor.. all of his tests came back clean and he was as healthy as an old horse like him could be. So, apparently there had been a reason for me to sort of panic. Dads.. what are you gonna do.
Well, about 3 good years later and here we go again. A few weeks ago, I got a call from my sister. She said, “Dad’s been in the hospital with heart and kidney problems. He also has pneumonia. Apparently he had been in an auto accident several weeks ago and didn’t tell anyone.” He checked himself out of the hospital because he didn’t want to stay there. Wouldn’t follow any of the doctor’s recommendations and was being a pain in the butt to everyone. She flew to Arizona and worked him through his situation and attitude. Got his meds worked out and sent some pictures to help my other sister and i get emotionally prepared for whatever might happen.
This is a little doohickey dad found in a parking lot. Snidely rode with my dad for nearly 40 years when he was a truck driver. I began using it as a “keep dad safe” lucky charm.
Over the course of the past few weeks, my sis has been going from Washington to Arizona to check in on him, get him set up with doctors, physical therapy. I’m not sure what I would have done, or how I would have handled it without her. It’s been super stressful and emotional. It’s so weird to see him in this position. It breaks my heart.
When I think of him that is now how I see him. I can’t imagine it’s him. In my minds eye and in my heart, that’s not how I see him. Then I look at these pictures or see him in person and I think….who is that old man looking back at me. I can’t imagine it’s him. I really can’t.
Then, as I was writing this blog, literally just now, my sister sent me the below messages and photos.
I catch my breath and in my head say, “Thank you!!” Because now, for a minute at least, I can imagine him .. how I think of him ..
Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.