I wasn't sure whether to write about this or not. I thought about when to post it.
I will tell you that if you don't want anything to be a bummer for your holiday, you should probably skip it until after Christmas. I warn you. It's heavy, and it's sad.
Alright, you choose to read.
I got home after my 20-mile run on Saturday (I did it 15-minutes faster this time, and I felt way better) and my sister called. "Did you get my message?"
"No, I just got home. I haven't checked my messages yet."
"Bari, what was the message?"
Long silence, and then a deep breath. I kind of knew what was coming.
"Daddy's gone. I found him this morning."
It's may seem somewhat strange for me to divulge this on line, to people who may or may not know me well. But here goes.
My father chose the exactly time and manner of his death. At the age of 74, he decided that he did not want to face any health or mental declines, and he chose instead to leave the world to join my mother, who passed away in 1998.
The grief, and anger, the sadness, weigh heavy on me. I'm angry at him for doing this to my sister. This is my sister's holiday memory now, finding her father dead at Christmas. She spend the last month taking time off work to take care of him after his car accident, making sure that he was geting the care that he needed, paying his bills while he recovered. They lived in the same town together in Alabama near where my mother is buried. I would call and check up on him, and talk to her, to see how things were going. On Thursday, she took him home to his apartment, and got him set up with a home health care worker. He was doing well.
The last night he was alive, he had her copy all his addresses and phone numbers into her address book, make sure his apartment was clean, and shave him. He laughed and joked. There was no sign. No clue. She kissed him goodbye, and left.
Then the next day she called him. The phone rang, and rang, and rang. And rang...
I expected that at some time in the future I would lose my father. Nobody lives forever. I'd even started preparing myself emotionally fot it. But not for this. My sister is left with this holiday memory, as am I. I am also left with a host of "what if's" and "if only's". No note, other than "I love you all" scribbled on a folder. No explanation. No email. I'm angry that I didn't get to say goodbye. I'm angry that he planned this and couldn't have planned it in a way in which someone would find him who wouldn't be haunted by the memory of December 22nd.
My aunt called me to talk to me about it. "There's a lot of depression in our family, you know"
There's a lot of substance abuse and suicide. in my family. I run. I run, and run and mull things over in my mind. As far as I know, I'm the only one in my family that does. I think about how my decline and/or absence would affect those that love me, and I work things out. I try to stay healthy. I spread myself thin, but it's so that the loss of one part of my life would not make me think my life was over.
I'm still pissed. And grieving. I can't write any more right now.
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