It was on this day in 2007 that my father passed away. Even today, I can’t think about it without getting misty-eyed. It’s the kind of pain that never leaves you.
In April 2006, I moved to Australia. I remember my last time seeing Daddy. Mom, Dad, and brother had all been at the airport to drop me off. I remember distinctly we never actually said goodbye. We hugged, and I made promises to call when I stopped off at Los Angeles. Then I walked away, hand waving. It was never meant to be permanent.
After I moved, the dynamic changed, and any time I called home, it would be my mother I would speak to, as I imagined Daddy was still sore that his little girl was on the other side of the world. Out of the year, I probably only got to speak directly with him three times. It was hard. But it was not meant to be permanent.
Now, I wish I would have tried harder to get him to talk to me. But that’s the funny thing about hindsight…
I was the first born child of my father and mother. Daddy and I had a bond, like no other. He had set me on the path of reading and writing. He was my first critic and first praiser. For years, he was my world. I aimed to please him, and I sought his attention any time we were together.
I was the definition of Daddy’s little girl. I would randomly call him after I moved out, just to ask him silly questions, like “what’s band sings this song?” or “have you seen … yet?” As an adult, the bond had not been lost.
Not until I walked away from that life to start my next chapter, at least.
My father was a flawed man, though. So as much as I loved him, I loathed him. He passed at the young age of 46, just over 2 weeks before his 47th birthday. He had a heart attack in his sleep. A healthy man he was not, and years of alcohol abuse had resulted in his early death. It’s easy to think about all the good he had in him, but it’s hard to discount all the bad. Because when it was bad, it was really bad.
It’s easy enough to look at the good times, though, and that’s what I aim to do today. I think of him daily. I had a surreal dream once where he drove me around my old hometown and told me about all the things I was going to do with my life. Then at the end, when the list was complete, I asked him, “Why did you have to die?” He smiled at me and disappeared. I like to think it was the last conversation we had.
Happy homecoming day, Daddy. I love you and miss you greatly, but it brings a smile to my face when I think of you playing keys for the angels in Heaven.