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The Death of my Dad – Part II

Posted by truthoughts on June 6, 2008


If you have the ability to listen to this video, please do as you read because it will enhance your reading experience. This was the song that I listened to throughout my grieving period and it was comforting.

Part I

As I stated in my previous post, this ended up being one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life.

So, now I was at my dad’s house and my step mom was there with the youngest of my 3 stepsisters. Though she was the youngest, she was still older than I was. Now, let me begin this part of the story with letting you know that my step mom is a bit over dramatic and a queen of pity parties; this being to the point that my stepsister felt the need to warn me before entering the house so I would know what to expect.

Over the next few days, I would be subjected to listening to the ‘death story’ repeatedly, more times than I could count. At one point, I just had to go outside to get away from it for a while. My stepsister joined me and tried to comfort me, understanding that her mother was being ridiculous, even for the situation. I cannot convey an accurate view of how she was going on about it all, but it just wasn’t normal. I even had other family members take me aside at times to ask me why she was being so outlandish; it really was embarrassing to everyone.

At one point, the family (extended family included) was having dinner at a restaurant and she just flipped. Someone asked her how she was holding up and she verbally bashed them in front of the entire restaurant. It was an elderly woman who had asked; I think she was in her 70’s or so. Then everyone just looked at me like I was suppose to do something about it… I was 19 and hadn’t seen her since I was 8 (she didn’t come to my grandmother’s funeral).

It was like this day in and day out. At one point, I was taking a bath b/c for some reason they did not have a shower in the guest bathroom, and she barged in and started complaining about all sorts of things, like why were people asking her how she was holding up. Oh, did I tell you that they also did not have a shower curtain??? I felt so violated.

My only comforting moments were spent with my dad’s dog, Sassy, who would come in with me during the night.

Oh my, that reminds me… my sister came in my room one night at about 4 am talking all sorts of gibberish and flopped on the bed. My step mom came in because of the noise and told her to go back to bed. Apparently, she was sleep walking.

Ok, so I think on the third night I was there, my step mom, sister and I all went to dinner – I don’t remember where, but when the waiter came to ask us what we wanted… all of a sudden… BAM!!!! It finally hit me!

Right there in the restaurant I began to cry uncontrollably (which is not like me). I was so embarrassed and felt so alone, I didn’t have anyone to talk to because my step mom was literally loosing it so I couldn’t burden her with my thoughts and feelings, my mom was in another state and I couldn’t call her long distance, my aunt was grieving and dealing with her personal problems between her and my step mom (they were arguing over the grave and who would pay what, etc.) on and on and on…

So, I ran to the bathroom while hearing my step mom then proceed to explain to the waiter that my dad had just died and she went into full detail of how, etc.

While in the bathroom, all I could do was pray. I prayed that God would be with me through this very difficult time and that He would give me the comfort and strength to get through all of this. I was not aware at the time, just how He would do this… but He did.

The next day was the viewing and this brought a whole new stress to the situation. My step mom had a death grip on me until others showed up. Once other family and friends showed up, she left me to gain support from them… the ones who would still talk to her by that point. She had nearly attacked almost everyone in my family by that point.

During this time, I stayed by my dad’s casket and stared at him. I knew it wasn’t him but his body… I wondered what he might have thought when he was dieing. Did he think about me? I placed my hand upon his and said my good-byes. I didn’t want to leave his side, but others came to me to say that I should allow others to give their respects, so I sat down in a pew about three from the front.

I looked around to see everyone giving comfort to my step mom and talking amongst themselves, but no one came to me… they didn’t know me or were preoccupied by the somewhat family reunion.

I placed my head in my arms, which rested on the back of the pew in front of me and prayed again for comfort and strength.

Well, the next thing I knew, I felt a hand on my shoulder, then another one on my back. I heard the voice of a child saying to me as she caressed my hair, “Its alright, don’t be sad, he is in heaven. It’s going to be ok.”

I looked up and I was surrounded by about 8 children from 3 years to around 8 years old… all trying to comfort me. This moved me so deeply that I almost couldn’t speak. All I could say is, “I know” and “Thank you”… They stayed with me.

No adult ever came to me, no adult ever said a word to me that night… just the children. I knew that was God. He used the little children to comfort me. Through the mouths of babes, I tell ya.

The next day was the funeral.

Early, we awoke and got ready. Everything seemed fine, as fine could be. Then came the limousines. As soon as we stepped out of the doorway to the house, my step mom began screaming and saying “No, no, no” while she planted her feet in the ground, forcing others to practically drag her to the car.

My aunt was there by this time (at the house). Once we were in the car, my step mom, my stepsisters, their kids and me… when my aunt was going to get into the car, my step mom said to her that there was no room for her. This really upset my aunt because she was more family to my dad then my step sisters and kids, plus, I think I heard later that my aunt was the one paying for it.

I had to hear my step mom complain about it all the way to the funeral. I just wanted to jump out of the car and run as far away from everything as I could.

Once we got to where the funeral service was held… we had some time, so I didn’t think I could handle being around everyone then… I went to the restroom which had a sitting room attached to it. I sat there and prayed. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this.

The next thing I knew was that someone came in and said that they were about to start the services. So, I gathered my composure and went to the sanctuary. On my way down the isle a man who said that he was very pleased to finally meet me stopped me. He told me that my dad spoke of me often. This made me feel a bit better. I also found out that he didn’t know that I had another sister, which I thought was interesting (for more history about that please click here).

I do not remember the funeral, as far as what was said but I have a video of it, though, it not very good quality. When we were at the gravesite, I sat in the front with the other immediate family members, excluding my aunt again and her family, thanks to my step mom. The things I remember about this, was that the sun broke through the clouds… a plane flew over head and the priest kept looking at me oddly as he spoke and prayed. It was almost like he could see something… but what, I thought. My dad had to have a priest preside over the burial because the gravesite was at a Catholic cemetery. It was a family plot that my grandparents paid for long before I was even a thought.

The only other part that I remember now, is my flight home. It was the first time that I was leaving L.A. without spending time with my grandmother and/or my dad. I thought how my experiences with California died with them… and I began to cry. I remember listening to a tape I had brought with me: “I’ll Be There” by the Escape Club below is the actual video for the song…

Tear just flowed down my face. A flight attendant asked me if I was ok, so I told him that my dad had died. He was very attentive after that and I greatly appreciated it. Over the next years, it would hit me here and there. I just learned to let myself feel the pain so that I wouldn’t explode in the future.

There are times that I wish that I could share with him. We began speaking again when I was in high school, over the phone. I had told him that I would be visiting him that summer, but I wasn’t able to. It brings back memories of almost seeing my grandmother but she died right before I was able.

If you get nothing else out of this post, please don’t hesitate to spend the time that you have with your loved ones. Tell them how you feel… and trust in God to carry you through those times that you don’t think you can make it through – He won’t let you down. Thank you for reading this. I look forward to your comments.

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14 Responses to “The Death of my Dad – Part II”

  1. […] The Death of my Dad – Part II […]

  2. Kim Rambaud said

    I stunbled upon this page because I have been suffering over the death of my Dad. He passed away on the morning of easter sunday 2008. I have not gotten any emotional support from family or anyone else for that matter. I just needed to talk with someone who can understand the grief I am going through. I really enjoyed your story and will ray for you. thank you for sharing your story. Kim R.

  3. Kim Rambaud said

    I meant pray for you

  4. truthoughts said

    Kim,

    First, I would like to say that I appologize for the horrible picture avitar that the system audomated for your posts. I wish that I knew how to change those.

    Secondly, I thank you for your comment. I am so glad that my experience could help relate to someone. It was an extremely difficult time in my life and there are still some times that I feel a bit bitter about some of the situations and how they were handled, however, through the years and through prayer – I have been able to get beyond the feelings of resentment or at least work through the feelings as they come.

    I have great comfort that my dad is in heaven and that I will see him again. I remember about a month or so after he died, I had dreams that he wasn’t dead… it really hit home that though his body is gone, his soul is still alive.

    I am very sorry that you have not gotten any support from those around you. I had to open myself to notice the little things that I felt God was using to comfort me as I stated regarding the small children at the viewing. I felt that it was as it was so that I would learn to rely solely on the One who could comfort me thoroughly the way that no other “person” could. This experience has helped me to get through many others in my life and has helped me to know better how to be there for others who are going through the grieving process of loved ones.

    There truly are no words to say that will take away the pain and sometimes anger. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares enough to say, “I’m here to listen, to hold you or even to change the subject when need be” helps.

    Something else that I have noticed, though now it has been almost 13 years since my dad died and doesn’t happen as much… when the anniversary comes around, you may not take notice conciously because you may be busy with plans of some sort… but your body remembers. You may not realize why, but you may feel overly emotional a few days leading up to the anniversary and much more on the day. It is easier to get through when you know why you are feeling the way that you feel.

    I will keep you in my prayers too that the Lord’s Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will wrap you tightly when the emotions hit you and sooth the tremmors which come from the tears. Know that He cares for you and keeps every tear you shed, you are more precious to Him than anything else in existance and He will help you through this time so that you may be able to help others in the future. His glory comes from His strength in our weaknesses. Just make sure that you let it out when you feel it and don’t bottle it up because when we bottle it up… that is when we have real problems and it will come out one way or another.

    As far as your family, etc. just remember that people grieve in different ways and some may feel that they don’t have the strength to give comfort to another or maybe they are scared to allow themselves to feel the emotions because they just don’t know how to handle what may come of it. If I could give you a hug, I would. I pray that you will experience the peace of God which surpasses all understanding and that He will give you joy in Him that is unspeakable because of the abundance.

    Wow… this is a long post – lol. I hope that it helps. If you would like to speak more, you can email me at my email listed at http://truthoughts.wordpress.com/ under Contact Me.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Alison

  5. Kim Rambaud said

    Allison, it was not a long post. I thank you SOOO much for helping me through your words. It is the 1st time I get comfort knowing God is there to help me through this. You and your husbands are truly angels helping people through your ministries. Thank You. I also love the song you have by the escape club. It is pretty. God Bless You and your family. Kim : )
    p.s. I love the kitty pictures. I have cats too : )

  6. truthoughts said

    Kim,

    I am so glad that my words have helped your healing process. We are actually about to have some baby kittens soon. A stray kitty who is only about a year 1/2 or so came to our home in the heat and was starving… well, she was also very pregnant!

    We are keeping her in our Master Bathroom with a comfortable set up. She is very friendly and seems very greatful to be here. She is no longer starving and is almost ready to pop out her babies – litterally any day now. I am on pins and needles waiting.

    I hope that I can take some pics of her babies as they are born so that I will know which ones come first. I am kind of quirky that way. lol. I will certainly share the pics and her story here soon.

    Again, thank you for commenting. It is always nice to hear when I have made a difference. It is more proof that what all I have been through is truly not in vain… and neither will your situations be. Hang in there, it will get better over time.

    If you don’t mind me asking… how did your dad die? Was it a situation that allowed you to say good-bye? Sometimes that makes a huge difference too. Just wondering. You are in my prayers sweetie.

    Much love,
    Alison

  7. Kim Rambaud said

    Hi Allison, My Dad died of heart failure due to COPD(chronic obstructive pulminary disease). He lived alone and had a lady take care of him that lived behind him. The day before easter I went to my Dads to check on him. He looked very weak. I asked him if he wanted to come over for easter and he told me he did. I put him to bed and told him I would see him later. The next morning I called and one of his lady friends(which I do not like) told me I need to get over there. I heard sirens in the background, so I knew he was probably gone. Anyway. overnight he tried to get in his power chair but he missed it and fell. I think is heart was too weak. So when he fell, he probably couldnt get up and his heart stopped. He just looked like he was sleeping on the floor on his stomache. No bruises or trauma from falling. I have a twin brother that came over there very fast. His lady friend that was over there was taking care of him when she shouldnt of. The girl that lived behind him told me she was stealing his medicine and yelling at him. She wasnt cleaning for him either. She just wanted the money she got to care for him. I told my Dad the Saturday before he died, I was going to take over his care. Cleaning, Doctor appointments or even have him move in with us. I guess God has a purpose for all of us. My Dad was just ready to go. How did your Dad pass away? I hope I didnt write too much. please excuse my punctuation also. It is nice that I have someone that listens. Thanks Allison. God Bless You , Kim

  8. truthoughts said

    Kim,

    I cannot imagine how bad you must feel that someone was mistreating your dad. It is good that you saw him just before he passed. So… are you saying that you saw him in the possition he was after he passed??? If so, I can’t imagine how difficult that might be to have that as your last image.

    There is a page that I came across that I would like to share with you. Please go to this web page while having your speakers on. Look at the picture, read the words… it is comforting. The page is: http://www.angelrays.com/plain/heaven.html

    My dad had a brain anurism (sp)which caused a heart attack in his sleep. I was told that he had been having headaches the week prior but refused to see the doctor. My stepmom said that the day he died, he was extremely tired and so he went to bed early. I am greatful that he died in his sleep the way he wanted to. I was planning on going out to see him that summer, but money did not permit… so I didn’t get to see him before it happened. I had to struggle through that guilt after the fact, but as you said… it was just his time to go. Knowing that I will see him again has been a tremendous source of comfort to me.

    Is your mom still around? If you don’t mind my asking… are you married? If so, have you talked to your husband about how you feel? How is your brother reacting? Is he standoffish?

    You said that you have cats too… How many do you have? Are they the lap cat type? I had a wonderful cat when my dad passed and that helped me sometimes when I felt like I just needed a physical hug and no one would give one… I would just snuggle her and cry into her fur. She was a great cat. She passed away on July 12, 2000. I had her from the time I was 6. Her name was Cuddles.

    Let me know what you think about the web page… I hope that you like it. Have a wonderful day Kim, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Much love and big hugs,
    Alison

  9. Kim Rambaud said

    Hi alison, My last image was of my Dad laying on the floor after he died. My Mom passed away in 1986 of scerosis of the liver. There were 7 kids in my family. I grew up in the 70’s when women didnt work. My Dad was very smart and played almost every sport in high school. He came from a more strict upbringing. My Mom came from a large catholic family. They were more of a wild bunch. My Dad got scholarships for college but dropped out when he met my Mom. My grandparents blamed my Mom and us kids for Dad’s failures. We were very poor and always moved. one time we lived in our staion wagon. Most the time we didn’t have electricity. My Dad beat up my Mom alot and it was very hard to see. They were both alcoholics. I think all the stress forced them to drink. In 1975 one of my brothers called the police because we were starving. Half the time my Dad didn’t come home. Anyway, we were put into foster care. We were all split up except for me and my sister Mary. she is a year older than me. Some of the foster homes were abusive. One abused and tortured me. Anyway, my Dad got us back after 5 years and My Mom never got custody of us again. She abused vodka because of her pain. My relationship with my dad was not as close as I wished it were. My older brother Mike died 2 years ago of an accidental drug overdose. My older sister Maureen went in for gallbladder surgery last year and went into cardiac arrest. They attempemted to resusitate her, but during the process she went without oxygen. She lives now on life support in a nursing home down by los angeles. She is brain damaged. My Dad just died on Easter, so it has been a very overwhelming few years. I have had health problems the past few years. I had 2 vertibraes in my neck replaced and a plate and screws inplanted. Was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis this last year. The medicine I am taking helps with my walking. Before I started taking it they would stiffen up and I needed help from my husband or boy’s to get up from a sitting position. Anyway, it is nice to talk with someone about my feelings. I have felt so alone these past few years. the hardpart is, I have had no support except from my Husband and boys. All the deaths and with my health problems, friedns family and even my husbands co-workers did not even say sorry to me or ask how I was doing. My husband has been on his job 20 years, so we know alot of people there. I met My husband in 1984. He is like an angel sent from God. Don’t know where I would be without him. wednesday Is out 20th wedding anniversary. July 16, 1988 was our wedding. I have 2 boys, Adrian 17 & Alexander 15. My Alex has autism. He has gotten better over the years. I hope I havent overwhelmed you with all the info. I am going to close for now. Take Care Alison. Kim : ) p.s. I have had alot of cats. Now my cats are Kashmir and Sampson. I will send you some pictures sometime : )

  10. truthoughts said

    Kim,

    I appreciate all of the insight from your life. I am not overwhelmed. I understand how you feel about loosing a lot of loved ones so close together. Shortly after my dad passed away, I lost a friend who drowned, a cousin who was killed in a car accident and an aunt who suffered and died from lung cancer… all this in a matter of 2 years.

    My dad was an alcoholic as well, but he didn’t hurt my mom – thank the Lord. His dad, my grandpa was also an alcoholic and he did hit my grandmother.

    I am so sorry that you have had to go through so much in your life… no one can say presently, why some have to go through so much in this life and others not so much. In the end, when we are with the Lord (for those who have chosen to follow Him) we will gain rewards that our imagination could never comprehend here…

    I am so happy that you have such a wonderful and supportive husband and boys! That is so great and such a rare thing to find. My husband is also my best friend – I don’t know what I would do without him.

    I am not sure why some people show so little compassion for others, even to the point of not asking how someone is doing… it is so sad. So many people in this generation are completely self obsorbed and cannot see past themselves to even care for another person unless it benefits them in some way… luckily, not all people are like that.

    I am glad that I could be here for you to talk to about everything. Sometimes it just helps to get it all out. I am glad to hear that Alex has gotten better over the years – I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been, especially in the beginning years. As a mother, your desire is to protect your child from all the hurtful things and people in the world… and to have a child with a disablement that you know will cause others who have no or limited understanding to possibly hurt him by words or stares, etc… must have made you feel helpless at times. My heart goes out to you and your husband for the strength you have had in this life.

    I would like to say ~ HAPPY 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!!! ~

    Wow, 20 years is an amazing time! My husband and I just celebrated our 5 year anniversary on May 10th. We cannot have children so we have kitties. Actually, one of our kitties just had baby kittens last night. She had 5 babies! They are so cute! I was trying to write a post about it the other day, but for some reason it wasn’t letting me upload pictures. I hope to post it as soon as I can upload the pics. I hope you will check it out when I do.

    Kim, I really appreciate you sharing your stories and feelings with me. I will be here whenever you want to chat. Please tell your family that I said hello and give your kitties a little kiss for me. LOL! I hope to hear from you soon and that you are having a good day. I will pray for the other circumstances in your life as well.

    Much love ~ Your friend,
    Alison

  11. Kim Rambaud said

    Hi Miss Alison, Congratulations on your new additions to your family! I have had numerous cats over the years.Lucy, Tuxxy, Alexa,Biscuits,Sweetpea, Chris,Oscar,Kiki,Iris, chelsea, and currently I have sampson and Kashmir. Cats are so funny. I rescued Sampson from the animal shelter. I went to look for my brothers lost dog and a man was surrendering him because he could’nt keep him. This cat gets into the cupboards to look for his food. He won’t drink water from a bowl; only the water faucet. He is very mischievious. If no one is giving him attention he will walk around the house meowing loud. Kashmir is very laid back. She is very attached to my oldest son. She loves sleeping in his room because she won’t be bothered in there. When we go to pet her, she opens her mouth like she is going to meow, but nothing comes out. She is so lovely.Dark grey w/ pretty green eyes. Sampsom almost looks like a bengal tabby. Did I send you a pic? anyway.Thanks again for corresponding with me. It is amazing how talking out my feelings makes me feel better. I am in bakersfield , california. I guess I should set up a family web page. I am so computer handicapped. I get frustrated easily. Hope your Tuesday goes well. God Bless you and yours~ Kim : )

  12. truthoughts said

    Kim ~ I too have a cat who prefers to drink out of the facet. I have another one who loves to eat toilet paper, go figure!? If you set up a web page, let me know. I have been having problems uploading pictures here… uploading anything for that matter. That is why I haven’t posted any new posts in awhile. I have written a post, but can’t upload pics, so they are just drafts for now. I may try again tomorrow.

    To answer your question, no… I never received a pic. I am glad that sharing your feelings with me is helping. It is always nice to have someone to talk with. I look forward to your comments here.

    Well, there is a pretty big storm brewing… so, I better get going to see if there is a tornado in it… hope not. Talk soon – many prayers!

    ~ Alison

  13. Myra said

    Hi Alison,
    Just found your website. How therapeutic it must be to tell this story plus it will help others. The last paragraph was the most important though as your story points out. Please continue to encourage families to work through difficult situations with God’s help.

  14. truthoughts said

    Myra,

    Thank you for your comment. The timing to take me back to this post as well as the last paragraph, which you pointed out, is perfect. I have a long time friend, whose family was as my own at times… her mother is on life support and they will be taking her off tomorrow. I wasn’t sure what to say to the family, but this brings it all back to perspective. Thank you for your God-timed comment.

    Alison

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