Friday, December 10, 2010

Probably sitting on a beach in Hawaii, hangin' out with mom.

Today marks the one year anniversary of my dad's death. At the time, it was stressful due to the time of year, the issues with my husband's work and how they handled our request for bereavement time for him, and with the way dad passed over the course of several days.

And, of course, there was that whole dad being gone thing. Yeah, that sucked just a lil' bit too.

It's been a tough week for me, emotionally and physically. I'm tired. I'm sad. I am stressed to the hilt. I wanna be with my family. But instead, I'm stuck at work with a fake smile on my face trying to get projects done before everyone leaves for their end of the year paid-time-off bonanza they get to take. (I work with a lot of people in management that have been at my company for upwards of 20 years. They earn a fair amount of time off every year, and they don't get to take it very often, thanks to the demands of their jobs. This inevitably leads to them taking 2.5 -3 weeks off all at once at the end of the year every year. Makes for a quiet office, once it happens. But until then, it's like hell on wheels getting shit completed! SUCKS.)

I miss my mom and dad a lot when it comes to normal times of the year, but around the holidays, the only thing that makes me feel better about them not being here is spending time with my brother and sisters. And I don't get to do that for another couple of weeks.

But today has come, all the same. So let me tell you a little bit about the awesomeness that was my dad. He was the oldest of 5. His mom died when he was 12 or 13 (I can never remember exactly) of the same disease that eventually killed him as well, and my grandpa remarried to a woman he met through an ad in the paper, because he needed help with raising 5 kids. She brought 3 of her own to the deal. So it was a crowded little house in Montebello, CA that my dad had to live in, along with his siblings!

When dad was 18 and graduated from high school, his step mom kicked him outta the house. Time to fend for yourself, Joe! Buh-bye! So off he went to find his way in the world.

And find it, he did. He stumbled here and there along the way, dealing with family crises, bankruptcies, business deals gone bad, and other assorted difficult issues here and there, but dad took it all in stride. He got wise very early. He didn't go to college, but the man was so good at dealing with investments and business ventures by the time he was in his 50's, he had built a small empire for our family. Not a huge one, but a decent one all the same.

He was a great dad, aside from all that, too. He liked to brush my long hair when I was little, and would often dry it for us (me and the Twin, I mean) after we washed it. He would get silly and tickle my feet when I was swimming, and would carry me on his shoulders to play chicken with our siblings. He cracked open coconuts on the back deck, and gave us the water from inside before carving into the meat of the nut, and putting it on a plate for us to chew on.

When we got older, he drove us around the lake in the boat in summertime, and he took me skiing with him and his buddy on Christmas day. Skiing with dad was always an adventure. He taught me how to get down any hill I was placed on top of, even if it meant waiting for me to painstakingly get down a mogul course that took me 30 minutes to criss cross without killing myself. (I don't DO moguls! He knew that, dammit!!!)

Boys never knew how to talk to dad...mostly because dad just didn't talk much himself! He was quiet to a fault. But usually it was because he was thinking deeply about something. Or that he was asleep. Dude worked hard...he was tired!

He paid for my first cars, for my college education, and for me to move to Kansas City after I graduated from college. If he was worried about all that spoiling me somehow, he never let on. And I think it worked out ok, gamble-wise. Except when I first moved to town, and asked him to help with my move into my first apartment. "Did you get a job yet?" he asked. "No dad, but I can't keep imposing on big sister and bro-in-law anymore. I need the apartment NOW. And I swear, I'll find a job soon! I've got a lead already!" I felt bad. He'd already given me so much! And one month later, I was gainfully employed and paying my own rent. I like to think that made him proud, just a little bit.

He was always there for me to fall back on, and when mom passed away, we got closer than we had been all my life. We watched Sex and the City together (I didn't have cable in my apartment, so he graciously allowed me to come over and watch at his house), we had dinner sometimes, we all (the Twin and her girls, me and dad) went to church on Sundays, and then had brunch afterward each week. It was nice living nearby him again, and I was grateful that he didn't judge me for the career choices I'd made at that point in my life.

He was just a good dad. He was funny in a weird way, and ambitious, and loving, and always good at giving advice.

I can't believe I can't ever call him for advice again!

Anyway, I miss him. I don't understand why he and mom had to leave this earth so early, but I'm sure there was a good reason for it. Somewhere.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

3 comments:

Canis Majoris said...

You're post made me tear up a bit. Your dad sounds like an awesome man. I hope you have a peaceful holiday season and that all your memories are fond. If you were a "hugger" I'd send you e-hugs, but since you're not, I'll just say I'm thinking of you and hope you're doing alright!

faithstwin said...

This was a nice post, dude. I know Dad and probably Mom were with us all one way or another yesterday. Out of the entire week it was the only day I wasn't about to cry at the drop of a hat- which mirrored last year as I cried so much sitting at Dad's side while he slowly released from this world and on the day of his passing I felt crazy peaceful. Now I am back to just being sad and a bit cranky. Like your captions says: would you people stop pushing my buttons!? I literally got into a fight with the guy in front of me at the Carls Jr. drive thru this morning. I could have kicked his ass and it wasn't even really his fault. But he challenged me! *sigh*

Catherine V said...

What a touching post. How lucky you were to have a father like that! Thinking of you this week as you remember him!