Most Fathers day posts are usually about how fabulous and great their dad's are... Mine is a bit different. He's still great in my eyes but it's a different kind of relationship. I don't know why I woke up and chose to write this today, I know it's Fathers day but...some part of me just needed to share it. I love my Father with all my heart. Our story is not your average Father & Daughter relationship story but I wouldn't change the past for anything ♥
The relationship between my Father and I has not always been an easy one, but it has taught me some very important life lessons over the years. For that I thank him more than he'll probably ever be able to understand.
My Father was very young when he and my mother brought me into the world. My Mom was just 15 with my brother Chester and just 17 with me. They were young, naive, irresponsible, running from life problems and doing drugs; many, many hard drugs. I'm not talking about just a couple of hippie pot-smokers, I'm talking a couple of needle pushing junkies! My Father and Mother lost custody of both of us when my mother broke my brothers legs. CPS stepped in and put us in state care otherwise know as foster care. My Nanny and Papa then stepped in to take care of us until my parents could get their crap together. My grandparents eventually adopted us in 1991.
My Papa was the first Dad I ever really knew, I loved him with every ounce of my innocent child heart. I can remember crawling up into his lap in the early morning hours with my blanket to watch "The Three Stooges" and of course "Tom and Jerry"...he was funny, hard working and quiet, he was a music man that loved to drink straight black coffee in the mornings. I was devastated when he died and I felt I knew more about my Papa then I could ever remember about my Father. I don't have many memories of my Dad until I'm older. One memory I recall (one of my earliest memories ever)was when I was about 2 years of age (I think) maybe slightly younger. I was sitting on the floor of a motel room with my brother, my parents were lying in the bed smoking cigarettes and talking about who knows what, the plastic shades were drawn in such a way that tiny rays of light shown across the dark and smoky room. I can remember it like it happened yesterday. My brother and I were playing with a deck of cards that had been strewn across the floor. I picked up a card and held it up as if I wanted to ask him what it was, a tiny ray of light danced across the card, and without asking what it was, my Dad just said, "Baby doll, that's the queen of diamonds...the one that'll hurt you". I didn't understand it as a child, but now that I have grown; it means something to me, something I can't explain.
My next memories start when my Dad met Brenda and had my sister Alisha! I was jealous, he never came to see us and now he had this new person in his life. I felt abandoned once again. When Alisha was born my dad was over the moon in love with his new baby, and his second chance to be a father. I was still jealous inside but also excited to have a sister, she was extremely cute and had my dad's eyes and curly hair! I have an old vhs tape with her and I, I was trying to help her walk and stand up lol. It was fun to have her around... I never told my Dad that I felt jealous, but my grandmother knew that it hurt me deep inside to see my dad bring Alisha over and leave without us... I didn't understand why he could have her but he wouldn't take us :/ I was too young to fully understand. Brenda and my Father's relationship fell apart shortly after Alisha was born. My dad had an apartment with Brenda and Alisha, and on a few occasion we got to go swimming and stay for the day. We never got to spend the night and that always hurt my feelings. That was my grandmothers decision, not my Dad's. I know that if he'd had the choice, he would have let us stay, we always had fun and we'd run through the apartment with Alisha in her walker making her laugh as she flew down the hall. We had good memories during that short moment in time. When Brenda left and took Alisha it broke my father's heart, and then it shattered it into a million pieces when she was no where to be found. When my dad got a lawyer to get her back, Brenda claimed that my father molested Alisha. He was put in jail on false charges. I will never forget the day my grandmother and I picked my Dad up in the middle of the highway coming from downtown. He'd be released from jail, was only wearing a pair of shorts, he was skinny, sick, and feeling lower then any low he'd hit previously. After that he spiraled downward and I didn't see him for a while. The charges were eventually dropped because Brenda was no where to be found. I know that my Dad did not do that, and when we found Alisha 4 years ago she confirmed what we'd all thought - that he didn't do it. My Dad's life would never be the same.
For the next several years I watched my Dad struggle with jobs, women, family, us and drugs. My Dad would be gone for long periods of time and you wouldn't know if he was dead or alive. I can remember when we'd see him again I would feel so happy and overjoyed, and somewhat relieved that he was in fact still walking, talking and breathing. He was my Dad and I was young enough to still look past his mistakes. It didn't matter what was going on in his life or what awful things my grandmother was saying about him, it didn't matter. He was the Dad I could not reach and all I needed was to see him, and have him close to me, to hear his laugh to know that he was safe.
As I got a bit older my Dad continued to dive deeper into a world of drugs and complete self hatred. The period of time he would be gone got longer. In high school (junior year) I moved out of my grandmothers place and got an apartment with my Dad and Brother. It was probably the worst time for my father and I. I was the only one working at the time and I was going to school too. My brother and Father both lived with me but neither worked. My grandmother would send some money to help me pay rent, but they were not helping at all. My Brother and Dad would get into viscous fights and arguments, I hated seeing them like that. My dad would sleep all day and be up all night. He would go missing for days at a time and come back with scratches all over his body and poison ivy. He would get spun out on dope and disappear into the wooded area by our apartments. He would literally be so messed up and high that he wouldn't even know that he was getting cut up by all the trees and brush. He would come back home and I would freak out, cry, hate him, and love him all at once. I got up to go to school one morning and I opened up my Dad's bedroom door to check on him and he was sitting in his dark bedroom listening to Pink Floyd, spaced out of his mind. When I came back home from school that day he was still in the same spot starring at the ceiling Indian-style on the floor. He didn't say a word to me...I cried all night in my bed, praying and hoping something would change him. I hated him so much at that point. He was no father to me and I felt like I was taking care of him and that made me very angry and detached from not only him but my family. My Grandmother would always say "It doesn't matter what he's done...he's your Father" I hated when she put the guilt trip on me... I felt so obligated and trapped.
I eventually moved out of that apartment and got a new one by myself. I was already 17 and in the state of Texas I was able to be on my own as long as I still continued to attend school on a daily basis. I remember living in that apartment and not even having a TV for the first 5 months; lord knows what I did to entertain myself. One night I invited Anna to stay the night at my apartment. I get a knock at the door and it's my Dad. There he is with no shirt and no shoes looking sad, miserable and pathetic. He came in; I knew what he was going to ask before he even asked it. "Can I stay with you tonight?" The words I didn't want to hear were spoken. With all the strength inside of me I walked over to my fridge, took out some leftovers, got him a few beers and put them in a grocery sack. I told my Dad that he could not stay with me because my friend was going to stay the night and because if I let him stay then he will think he can stay the next night too. In all actuality I didn't want him to stay because I knew he would never leave and I wasn't ready for that. I had already been through so much with him that I was at my wit's end. My Dad wasn't angry at me, he was sad and defeated inside. It was the most painful moment I'd had yet with my Dad...it broke my heart to look into his eyes and see a person so lost. I gave him the sack, some smokes, the beers and sent him on his way. The minute I shut the door I broke into an uncontrollable sob and cried one of the hardest cry's I'd ever cried up to that point in my life...I cried through the night and every time I imagine his face in my head I would start to tear up. I felt like I ripped his heart right out and smashed it against the wall. My grandmother called and "said it was a rotten thing I did not helping him" "He is your father" to which I replied "Where the hell was he when I needed him" I felt like the most cold hearted person in the entire world. How could I turn him away in this dark moment of desperate need. Was I just that selfish? No, I wasn't... I did what I had to do to protect myself, my heart and my future. I cried about that one for a while... I was angry at myself for sending him away and at the same time I was angry at myself for feeling bad when he didn't raise me or take care of me in my times of need as a child. The relationship between my father and I was very strained at this point...
After graduating high-school I got into drugs, I never shot up... But I partied with everything I could get my hands on. I even did drugs with my Dad and my Mom. It started to change the way he thought... for once he was concerned about my future and whether or not I was going to follow in his footsteps. This may sound a little crazy to most people, but an unconscious part of me felt that doing drugs would allow me to understand my father/parents, in a way I never had. I felt like I needed to be on his level to know him... On his level to understand why he made the choices he did. At this point my Dad is now living out of his little red car. He had been driving into my apartment complex at night and parking so he could sleep. It was a few months before I realized. It broke my heart... He kept getting tickets from sleeping in the park and needed a safer place to stay. I was partying with my friends so much and could have cared less where my Dad was sleeping. I regret that a lot now that I'm older.
My dad finally got a place of his own and a job welding. My dad was a welder by trade and was pretty damn good at it too, it's what he'd always done for work other then fast food places. He would usually only last long enough to get his first or second paycheck, then he'd go out get messed up, miss work and be difficult to deal with and in turn would lose his jobs. In 2004 my dad slowly stopped shooting up dope and replaced his drug addiction with beer. Not the best choice but at least he's not shoving a needle in his arm anymore. In 2005 I went to visit my dad at his duplex and he wasn't there... I walked in the door and called him on his cell, he sounded funny, like he was wasted or something. I asked if he'd been drinking and He said No, he was right around the corner and he said at his friends house he got really dizzy and then fell to the ground, got sick, threw up and when he got back up he felt strange and was talking funny. I waited patiently for him to get back home and as soon as he walked in the door I knew something was seriously wrong. He could hardly speak to me and his face was drooping on the left side. My heart almost fell out of my chest... I cried and asked him to let me take him to the hospital... He said "No, honey I'll be fine" I begged him and finally called an ambulance. They got there and spoke with my Dad, they informed me that they could not force him to go. They looked him over and said that he should probably go in that it could be something serious, I looked at my dad with pleading eye's and he agreed. They got him on the stretcher and sent him to JPS. I got his dog and cat and took them to my house because I knew my uncle would be rummaging through his house when he was gone...because that's just what my family is like. I sat at the hospital all night with my Dad... He had a massive stroke... it wasn't good and there was really not a lot that could be done. The stroke released a blood clot in my dad's brain. It's like a mini shot gun went off inside his head :/
The stroke changed my Dad's life. He's had a total of 4 strokes since and is basically a ticking time bomb. He has permanent brain damage and has difficulty communicating. He still laughs and jokes on occasion but he's just not the same. It's been almost 7 years and he hasn't touched a needle since! He drinks a little too much and still smokes his pot...but he's much easier to deal with and to keep track of. The last several years I've helped my Dad with doctors appointments and such but My grandmother has since taken over and does most of it for him. It got to the point that I could not get him to all of his doctors appointments and work full time, it was just too hard on me emotionally and physically. My grandmother was living in Oklahoma at the time, I called her one day in tears, sobbing into the phone uncontrollably... I could not deal with it by myself. I needed help. She moved back and rescued me :) I love her so much!
He now as a home heath nurse that visits weekly and a speech therapist that comes every two weeks. He is unable to read, he can drive short distances but can't take road trips because he gets lost. My Dad used to be the King of road-trips, he's rescued so many people in our family at various times lol. If there is one thing I can say about my dad its this - He may not have been there for me in the way's I expected him to be, but he would be there in an instant if I were hurt, in trouble or needed him. He has always enjoyed helping others and helping me. I can always expect that if some appliance breaks down or my couch exploded he'd find me a better one. haha He has a way of getting things done when you least expect it. He's resourceful for someone in his situation :) He' may be an old-man grouch but he does have a big heart and he loves me a whole lot. I know this from the bottom of my heart. Taking him to the grocery store has always secretly been my favorite thing to do with him. Watching him shop is an event. He wants to do things on his own, which I agree he should but watching him think and ponder things cracks me up... He laughs when I laugh at him...because he knows what I'm thinking. heheh When my Dad is trying to get the words out his fingers start to move, like spirit fingers lol... and his hand motions get more intense the more he's trying to think of stuff. He always get's frustrated and usually can't get the words out right so he waves his hand in a "never-mind" kinda motion...but when he's shopping and looking at things, his fingers are just moving so fast. It's like he's typing the words in mid-air lol. It's difficult to explain! But it makes me smile...why you ask? Because he didn't die... we still have him no matter how damaged he may be.
10 or even 15 years ago I never would have imagined his life like this, and I couldn't have imagined how much I would love him either. We've had a rocky relationship along the way, but I have learned so many things from him... He may not have been able to provide for me in a way that is considered father-like, but the life lessons provided by his life mistakes are the most important things I will ever learn from him. I love my Dad with all my heart even when he frustrates me. I know you won't ever be able to read this but... Happy Fathers Day Dad ♥