“Like my father’s come to pass, seven years have gone so fast.”
My father left for the hospital on Sept. 3 of 2009. He had a benign brain tumor, meaning that the tumor was not cancerous. The surgery was not mandatory, but the tumor would affect his senses if not treated. Although I shed tears that day, he told me there was nothing for me to worry about. Just once, I wish I would have doubted him. Just that one time.
I believed him. I stopped crying, gave him a hug, then brushed everything off. I was not ready for the toll that the next day would have on me.
It was a normal day for me. I went to school, and I came home, waiting for him to call from the hospital. No call came, but I didn’t think much of it.
Around 9 o’clock, my mom and my uncle came home. My father was not with them. I was confused, my brothers and I were going to go visit the hospital the next day.
I could tell that something wasn’t right. I finally built up the courage to ask my uncle, “Is my dad… dead?” and he broke down crying on my shoulder. It turned out that the surgery went fine, but after the surgery he suffered his third heart attack.
I ran out of the room.
There is still a lot to reflect on, even after seven years. After every death, those who remain ask “why?” Believe me, I am right there on the top of that list. My father was very young, he was active, and he was such a great person. He didn’t deserve this. He died on his brother’s birthday, which was ironic to me as he was very close with his brother also died a sudden death two years prior.
In addition, I have a lot of things that my mind still lingers on.
I wish that I had hung around him more. He gave me informative lessons on politics while screaming at the television during debates. He shared insightful into heavy metal lyrics that he always could relate to, and that I now relate to myself.
I wish that I gave him a bigger hug when he departed on Sept. 3. If anything, I wish that I would have stopped him from going into surgery. I remember hiding his pack of cigarettes when I was little because they were “bad,” but I wish that I hadn’t listened when he told me not to do that again. I wish that I could have made him stay.
While there are so many things that I wish I had done, I can’t change any single one of those things. It’s a painful process of accepting the things that you can’t change and moving along.
I feel sad that he is never going to smile at his grandchild, who will bear a mix of his eyes and sense of humor. I feel sad that he won’t walk me down the aisle at my wedding someday. I will never watch him shed tears on that day, as he told me he would. As even my boyfriends have noted, they never got the “meeting the father” experience. You know, the meeting where he smiles and says hello in front of his daughter, only minutes before he pulls the unsuspecting young man aside by the shirt collar and threatens your life if you hurt his beautiful princess.
Whenever I hear his favorite songs that he loved to show me, I tear up a little and feel his presence. Whenever I accomplish something big, I like to imagine that he’s right with me. The bittersweetness in all of this is that he will always be by my side, however it is not in the physical sense that I desire. I will forever have the memories, it’s just wishing you could physically be in someone’s presence.
Next year I am going to Edinboro University to study psychology. I can say that experiencing my dad’s death has definitely impacted my decision, as I want to help either children or just those who grieve for their loved ones. I know how damaging it is to lose someone, especially a parent. It’s like having your heart ripped out of your chest.
So, while I learn important lessons about the brain to aide in my future career path, the most important lessons that will guide me will be those my dad has taught me, the words he spoke to me, and the impact he’s had on my life.
I may not be able to physically see him during this exciting, yet scary, chapter of my life, but I know that he will be there during my graduation and beyond, watching over me in the VIP section high above.