What a cheery title!
I haven’t written in a few weeks, mainly because I’ve been busy, mostly because I didn’t want to put a final chapter to my story.
My dad died May 4 at 12:20am. I don’t really believe it still. I’ve caught myself trying to text him a few times, or think to myself as I’m driving one of his vehicles, “Dad’s going to be furious that I’ve been smoking in this thing.”
I miss him. I miss being annoyed by him because let me tell you what: that man irritated the shit out of me regularly. We have very similar personalities and Jesus Christ, the passive aggressiveness we threw at each other was incredible. Man o’ Friday*.
*Dad said that all the time. I have no idea where he picked it up. Once, I counted he said that phrase 10 times in an hour long conversation. It was always, “Man o’ Friday, honey! You should have seen _____ !” That’s one affectation I think I’ll take a pass on.
It’s been harder than I thought it would be not having him around anymore, but in the same breath and I am an awful, horrible, terrible person for saying this, but I’m also glad he’s gone. The last few months, weeks, days, and hours before his death were something I hope I never have to go through again.
He did not have a good death. He suffered until the end despite our best efforts to help him. He was in such intense pain and no amount of morphine helped him. He got agitated and combative towards us. The old fuck spit medication in my face. Twice. I have never slapped another person before, and I came alarmingly close when he did that to me. Instead, I regrettably poked him hard in the sternum with my index finger and through gritted teeth, snarled, “Dan Valentine, you stubborn shit!” Not my finest moment, but what can I do about it now?
I’m trying to keep myself preoccupied with things. I can’t tell you what things exactly, but things. I can say for certain it isn’t cleaning my living area. I had good intentions to clean the bathroom today and unpack my bags from when I was in Deshler…three weeks ago…but did any of this get done? Nope. I’m in bed, snuggling a pile a shit on the bed.
But that brings me to my next thought, and a bit of a tangent, so please excuse me: I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Kübler Ross model of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We pretend it didn’t happen. We’re pissed the fuck off it happened. We’d give anything to make it not have happened. We’re inconsolable it happened. Finally, we get that it happened. The end. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I have to say, I’m totally fucking NAILING the depression stage. Like, I’m excelling at it, really. If depression was an Olympic sport, by golly, I’d have a gold medal!
I’ve done some bargaining, as well; not much, but some. Some could argue my almost texting/thinking PD would be irate if I brought back his vehicle to him stinking to holy hell of stale cigarette smoke is denial, and I wouldn’t put up much of a fight. I’ve flirted with acceptance a time or two, but it didn’t amount to much. Acceptance won’t text me back and is ignoring my phone calls.
The stage I don’t know if I’ll have is anger, and here’s what I’m laying here thinking about: I have nothing to be angry at. I mean, why would I be mad at Dad? It’s not his fault he got cancer and died. We didn’t always have the best relationship, and I do believe I screamed at my father once that I fucking hated him, but I’m not mad at that now. (Or maybe I am…? My self-analysis is a bit slow these days.)
But here’s my original thought: most people who get angry, get angry at god. You know, “why did god let this happen?!” I don’t believe in god, so…now what? Can I skip this stage? Test out of it, maybe? Write a letter to a congressman or something? Click the box at the end that requests I opt out of it like being added to an email list? I don’t know! Anyway, just a thing that rambled in my head.
I did thank my dad for dying, as odd as that seems. Like I mentioned, the days and hours leading up to the end were hellacious. Between me, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, the four of us got a collective 8 hours of sleep in 3 days. I wish that was an exaggeration. It is not. Dad ended up needing morphine every hour to keep him somewhat “calm,” so we took shifts during the night to stay up with him. When he finally died, I was holding his hand and witnessed his last two breaths, and immediately said, “oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” He needed to go and he stopped being such a fucking stubborn old sonuvabitch and finally left. I’ve never been so relieved in my life. Plus, he finally goddamned listened to me for a change! “Daddy, it’s okay to go. You need to go now.” And he did! By golly, he took my advice!
For the record, as humorous as I’m trying to be writing this, please know I’m bawling like a child. I don’t share that to gain sympathy, but rather to reaffirm that I’m not being a heartless jokester and cracking jokes because I’m devoid of any emotion. On the contrary. I’m rather shocked I am crying this hard because I was sure I had cried myself dry. Guess not! Yay!
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has been there for me. I’m lucky to have you all. Thank you for food and checking in and showing up to the funeral and helping me clean records. My love for you can’t be measured.
On that note, I will stop here.
You know my closing line by now, but in case you forgot: as always, thank you for reading.