April 10, 2006

April 10th: Remembering Daddy

I can remember it like it was yesterday,
but it has been almost 20 years.

You asked me the night before if I wanted you to take me to the mall to get an outfit for my school's Freshman Day event or would I rather stay home. I chose to stay home, and you just had this look on your face.

It would take too many words and emotions to provide an exact picture of what my life had been with you up until that time. So many mixed emotions of love, hate, fear, and rage.

But on this day, I remember playing with my baby sister on the front porch. I remember my grandmother, who was dying from cancer, was sitting in her lounge chair in the dining room.

I saw you walking that slow, tired walk up the street. You smiled when you saw us, but you looked tired and worn. I don't remember if you told me then, or if I overheard you telling your Mother when you went into the house that the lawyers had you go all the way to the courthouse for nothing. You were angry, frustrated, and tired.

You went upstairs and next thing I know I heard my grandmother screaming and trying to go upstairs. I run into the house and get my Grandmother situated back in her chair with her I.V. I put my baby sister on the floor and run upstairs to find my stepmother in tears and in a panic trying to give you CPR. I run to the phone to call 911 and run outside to get my next door neighbor and everything is a blur after that. I remember the ambulance coming, and it seemed like it took forever. I remember them working on you for what seemed like an eternity upstairs in your room and then again once they got you into the ambulance. I remember that I had to stay with my grandmother and baby sister until my aunt arrived. I remember the phone call from my stepmother who traveled with you in the ambulance to tell us that you had died. I remember my aunt fainting. I remember my next door neighbor taking me with her to hail a cab to get us to the hospital to see you that last time before you were funeralized.

I remember being in shock...not knowing how to feel....a part of me sad and hurt that you left us, but another part of me glad that you could not hurt us anymore. I agonized over this for many years. How could a daughter be happy and sad that her father had died? Almost twenty years later, here I am understanding for the first time how important it is to have a loving, healthy, whole father in the life of a daughter. Here I am just now understanding that I really do love you and need to forgive you so that I can move on and be truly free!

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