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Posts Tagged ‘strength’

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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Posted in Christian Life, death, Diary, Emotions, Family, Journal, Life, Memories, People, Personal, Pictures, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Relationships, thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

The Death of my Dad – Part I

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.

Today I am going to write about the death of my dad. I have previously shared some minute details HERE about my relationship with my dad but I haven’t really gone into what happened when he died. So, here we go…

My dad passed away when I was barely 19 and I had not actually seen him since I was 13 at my grandmother’s funeral, which you can read about HERE and before that when I was 8, more on that HERE.

So, I had just moved back from North Carolina to Texas (I will write about that in another post). I was living with my brother at the time, my mom was in North Carolina… Anyway, I was asleep and the phone rang. Well, my brother was at work so I answered it. My mom was on the other line. Let me back up a bit…

First of all, when the phone rang, I got this gut wrenching feeling that made me feel nauseas and I wasn’t sure if I should answer it, but because my brother wasn’t there I thought that I better. So, I did.

As soon as I heard my mom’s voice sounding somber, I knew something had happened. Well, my first reaction was again as before with my grandmother’s death, was to ask who died… but this time I thought better of it not to. I always felt guilty for that moment in the past, almost as though I caused it by predicting it – even after the fact of it happening. If you are lost in this post, please read the previous ones with links listed above.

Anyhow, this time, I decided to stay silent and let her tell me whatever she was going to tell me… but as before, she hesitated, which forced me to ask her to just tell me. So, she did.

She said that she had some bad news and it was about my dad. Now, because this conversation was taking way too long for my patience, I couldn’t help myself but to speed it along by asking… “Did he die?” She said, “Yes.”

So, I asked what happened, as the all too familiar numbness over took my mind and body. After she was done explaining the few details that she knew, I had to ask again because my mind had officially gone into shock. She then repeated herself by telling me that all she knew was that he died in his sleep the night before and that my step mom would be calling me.

It was odd, the feelings or lack thereof that over took me. I thought to myself that I should cry, yet, no tears would come. I then thought… uh oh, when this hits me it is going to be bad. I later found that to be an accurate thought.

[side note: I can already tell that this is going to be a long post so I may need to break it up into two posts… sorry about that.]

I knew that I was going to have to do a lot over the next few days and it wasn’t going to be easy. You see, I am a very introverted person… very shy, and I was going to have to go through all of this on my own.

My first objective was to book a flight. Well, after speaking with a travel agent and hearing how much it was going to cost… I wasn’t sure I would be able to fly to CA for the funeral. She told me that I could get a bereavement discount if I could provide a death certificate along with the location and details of the funeral… now I had to get all of that information and get it to them within a day. That task in its self was almost too much to deal with.

When my step mom finally called, she told me that she was putting it off as long as possible because she was dreading telling me.

She told me that he had been having headaches for about a week but refused to go to the doctor because he hated doctors. She said that during the day he died, he was unusually tired and ended up going to bed early. When she went to bed, he told her that he loved her and rolled over to go back to sleep. Well, in the night, she had to go to the restroom and while she was there she heard something sounding like him taking a really deep breath.

She checked on him and he had passed away. She freaked out and called 911. The operator told her to put him on a hard surface and perform respiration on him. Well, he was too heavy for her so she had to go get the neighbor to help her. He came over and helped her, but it was too late.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital. They said, that he had a brain aneurysm, which caused a heart attack.

So, she then helped me with getting the information that I needed to be able to fly out there. Next I had to deal with where I was going to stay… Boy, this turned out to be a lasting hassle that I was not prepared for. See, my aunt… my dad’s sister, wanted me to stay with them and my step mom wanted me to stay with her.

Well, I flew in to LA and ended up waiting an hour before my aunt got there to pick me up… that side of my family seems to always be late as you know from reading the post about when I was 8.

When she finally showed up, she was with my cousin… the one I spoke about regarding my grandmother’s death. Well, when she was asking me repeatedly to stay with them, he was there giving me the look of death. He desperately did NOT want me staying with them. I proceeded to tell her that I really appreciated her offer but that I thought that my step mom needed me to stay with her and that I wanted to be where my dad’s things were. She said ok and finally dropped it to the relief of my cousin.

My aunt drove us to Taco Bell, which was great because I was starving at the time and then she took me to my dad’s house. I did not know at the time that I should have enjoyed my flight and meal for as long as I could because what was coming was going to be one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life…

To continue reading this story, please click here.

Posted in Christian Life, death, Diary, Emotions, Family, Journal, Life, Memories, People, Personal, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Relationships, thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »