Father’s day always brings up a lot of feelings for me. I started writing this post back in March on what would have been my Dad’s 54th birthday. Sometimes it helps to write out all the things that I have thought in the last four years when I wanted him to call me to ask some random question out of the blue or expected him to be waiting at the top of the escalator at Denver International Airport on my trips home. Sometimes it just makes me feel weird. Today it seemed more helpful.
It’s been for years since my dad was standing at the top of the escalator waiting for me.
It’s weird, I was barely out of college at the time and struggling through my first job. Family stuff was difficult. There was pull for me to move back to Colorado where my dad, step-mom, brothers and sister were, and there was pull to move to Nashville where my mom was at the time & where my grandparents, aunt & uncle and cousins are. I could barely buy groceries, had 7 days off a year and got to spend very little time with my family.
I was stretched so thin – simultaneously disconnected from the everyday lives of everyone I loved while being the tape that was attempting to stop up the leaks in the dam that was our family structure.
My dad wasn’t doing well in his recovery and his manic episodes from bi-polar were becoming more clearly pronounced, making it clear that he was abusing his medication and trying to self diagnose & treat (he was a doctor after all, so he knew best.)
Not long ago I discovered I still had access to a few emails from him. It was a gut-punch looking through them with the knowledge of what would happen so soon after. He sounded so sad, and so lonely. At the time I was reeling from some of his actions and some of the conversations we had so my answers were short, and always ended with “love you,” but they were definitely not the support he needed.
From his death I learned that my approach to the people in my life who struggle with addiction will never be tough love. Definitely a personal choice, but for me the act of cutting him out of my life in hopes of helping his recovery did more damage to me than it helped him. I have come to terms with the what if’s of if I had handled things differently etc., but I don’t ever want to have to do that again.
I have come a long way in recovering the parts of myself that were left blown to pieces after he died. There was never a time when I questioned whether or not he would be proud of where I was or where I was going. What’s been harder is remembering that at each milestone.
This year is another big milestone. My baby sister graduated high school, and that’s brought a twinge with it, too. It’s hard to know that my sweet little babies (also known as siblings) don’t get to share those moments of triumph with the person who loved a celebration, and his kids, more than anyone. On the flip-side they have grown into amazing people who I couldn’t be more proud of.
With that I am going to end this rambling. There’s something cathartic about this word vomit, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make much sense to anyone but me. -xx