|My Dad on a day out with me and kids about 6 years ago.|
I had always been close to my Dad. I could depend on him when I was very young to protect me, show me love when often my Mother could not, and to always be there to cheer me on. When I was a teen, I could talk to him about anything, and I do mean anything. We never fought, and he rarely was the one to discipline me. If I needed money, he gave it...even if he did make me earn it with a lot of back breaking chores that he wanted to skip ( Dad always having been very frugal ). After I moved out I would go home every weekend to just have coffee and spend the day. Often just running errands. When we moved back on the property into my Grandparents house ( after moving them into an attached cottage) I would walk over for toast and coffee, just to chat and escape the three young ones I had at home.
As the years passed and there was times of discord with my Mom, my Dad was always there still for me, ready to hear my side, and offer a sweet pat on the back or arm around the shoulders. When he decided to retire, sell the property I knew we would move to the same state, that I had to be close, wanted to be close to my parents, but also knew it would offer some distance from when we drove each other nuts and those times did happen. But when we all moved something became missing in the relationship.
I am not saying life with my Dad was perfect. He is demanding. He is over bearing, controlling, not fair, with my Mom he is often verbally and emotionally abusive. But as the daughter I escaped it all. When my parents would fight, often over me, later about everything under the sun for no excuse, I was often able to help keep the peace. I learned good lessons from my Dad of who I wanted to be and who I did not. I look like my Dad in some ways and at times catch myself being him as well, and both embrace it and run the other way. I often flip who's side I am on, recently being more on my Mom's side since she has really begun trying to be a better person, a better Mom and a better Grandparent and even a better wife. She has really stepped up in a surprising way and I am glad for it as she is filling the void my Dad is leaving behind.
I mentioned something that went missing when we moved. It started off with me being the only one that called. My parents rarely made the effort to do so. Then there was the fact that if I wanted to see them it was holidays or me making the hour long drive to the town where they lived. For three years while we lived in Texas, the time apart without seeing them or hearing from them grew. I think five days stuck in a house together when Hurricane Rita was headed our way and they had to evacuate, in the first year of living in Texas, had a lot to do with that. Grudges were held for awhile and did not heal for sometime. When we moved back to California , I believe more resentment built.
My Dad would in the beginning talk to me for an hour or more if I called. He was always happy to talk to me, or at me. But I knew he was jealous we lived in California, he regretted the move, he was really hating Texas. Soon he would pass the phone to my Mom. Then as my Dad's health began to fail more and more, I started to reach out more, and it would be hit and miss. In a time when I really needed my Dad, between where we were in life financially, where I was with my health, and his own failing, he began to shut me out more. Even when I called a couple days before he was to have open heart surgery , and he asked why was I calling. After the surgery, again, he just could not get off the phone quick enough.
There as been a few times I have had to ask him for money, only to be turned down or told he would consider it, and then find out he did not want to, not because he could not help us out, he was just choosing not to. My Mom stepped up without telling him ( I do not fear him reading this, so the secret is safe) and she continues to do so while we are barely making it. I keep reaching out, time and time again and being turned away, and when I am not, I feel as if I do not even know the person on the other side of the phone, and the reports my Mom gives me of course are not the best , considering their relationship, one now only of habit, and as of caregiver; with love buried down deep, I am not surprised. Today was rather the final straw.
As I said in my opening paragraph, I called, it was noon time in Texas. My Dad answered, I was happy and asked if it was an ok time, and that I hoped the nurse was not there for his physical therapy. He replied back to me that she was, and was almost ready to pick up the phone, and wanted to know why I had called. I told him, he said well call back at night sometime, I asked about what time would be good and he could not give me a good answer and handed the phone to my Mom. I found out that she was the nurse, he had lied so he could back to sleep. We made light of it and joked about it, but I sat like a hurt little girl with tears welling up. My Dad had chosen sleep over talking to me...I had not actually spoken more than three words to him in months.
I know I am no longer Daddy's little girl , but was really needing to be Daddy's girl today, and though Mom once again tried to step up, it was a painful reminder that most likely I shall not talk to my Dad often before his age and health take him. May or may not even get to see him in person, even skype, now that our oldest is moving away from Texas and she will not be able to aide them with it's operation, and my heart breaks just a little bit more than before.
|Most recent photo I have...nearly 4 yrs ago, caught in rare moment where he smiled.|