Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Dad

Thirteen days ago I was awakened by a phone call from my uncle telling me my father was dead.  I know some people prefer the term "passed away" but to me, that conjures an image of someone gently slipping from life.  My dad went out with a bang.  Literally.  He shot himself in the head.

My dad and I did not have a close relationship.  He struggled with an addiction to pain medication for most of my life.  This addiction caused him to lose his medical license, spend time in jail, and ultimately commit suicide.  Whether from the extensive drug use or perhaps from undiagnosed Asperger's, my dad did not know how to connect with people the way most people do.  We used to call him Mr. Spock because he was so much more comfortable with logic and rationalization than with emotion.

Over the past ten years or so, my father and I hammered out a semblance of a relationship.  This meant talking on the phone maybe 4 or 5 times a year and me sending updated pictures of the kids twice a year.  In the past few years, my father began sending me books he'd read that he thought I might like. He'd call and ask if I'd be interested in a book about building bridges or sea battles or zeppelin flight.  Yes, I'd say.  Yes to everything.  Then the books would arrive sometimes with a scrawled note attached to one saying "Don't miss this one" or "Superb dialog".  I read some of them and put the rest on my shelf.  They were books I never would have chosen for myself and they were fascinating. 

In the past few years, my father also started ending conversations by saying "I love you."  I was surprised the first time he said it, but managed to say it back.  When he died, I was at peace with the relationship we had.  It wasn't much, but it was a small connection.  I think it was the best he could offer me and I accepted it as such.  Now that he is dead, I am saddened but not heartbroken.  That I am only saddened is the part that breaks my heart.

5 comments:

fariedst said...

I'm sending so many big big hugs and lots and lots of love to you.  I'll see you in just a few short days and we should pic a good weekend for me to come visit in june.
love you TONS

halzmama said...

Oh...what to say.  You said "I love you", you tried, you had the relationship that you could have.  That's all you could have done.  Don't have a broken heart.  Maybe you also feel a little removed because you were/are physically removed from your dad.  Absence sometimes makes the difficult things not feel so bad.   I'm sorry.....xo

kamiandjtsmom said...

Ah Janet, <sniff>  I'm so sorry for your heart break.  ((( )))  You did everything that you could with the situation that you had.  I'm here for you, always, if you need anything.  

soappope said...

Janet, you are amazing.  Your last paragraph says it all.  ((((((((()))))))))))

abaleman666 said...

i read random blogs.  it is my goal to read and comment on at least 5 a day.  some are funny, some are sad, some are like yours, very real and very human.  i am so sorry about the loss of your pig and sad i could not enjoy any of the snaps due to the red plague.  i am also dealing with the aftermath of a death due to suicide/ od as well as being in the midst of watching someone else i care about struggle with addiction issues.  when something like that happens i so understood what you meant about the wondering part....did he know he was gonna do this when he called me and said he loved me, if i would of gotten off my ass and gone over would it have made a difference...etc etc etc to infinity.  

visit the blog anytime.  i tend to be profane at times (like rated r movie profane) and have a good sized pinch of snarkiness as well.

http://journals.aol.com/abaleman666/boysaremean