Thursday, May 7, 2009

Storytime

Gather round boys and girls, I have a story to tell you. This isn't just any story. This is a story about a girl and her Dad. Now before you saw, awww how sweet, it's not that kind of story. This girl loves her Dad. She loves him very very much, but she and her Dad don't always see eye to eye. Sometimes, well, a lot of times they don't get a long quite well. You see when this girl was a little girl she thought her Dad hung the moon and for the most part he was an okay Dad. He'd never be up for Dad of the Year by any stretch of the imagination, but he was good for the most part. The thing the girl could never understand was why her Dad always seemed to be in a bad mood. He was grumpy almost all the time. He complained a lot and nothing seemed to be good enough. It wasn't till later in life that she realized he wasn't like that with everyone. Most people found him quite charming. Seems he saved all the grumpy for the family. Unlike most people he was a much nicer and more like able guy to perfect strangers than he was to his own family. I guess always might be stretching a tad, sometimes he was in a good mood, but more often that not you just didn't bother Dad. What still bothers the girl the most to this day is that her Dad never ever NEVER not one time in entire life......NOT ONE TIME...ever told her he loved her. He hugged her and kissed her and all that but never not once told her "I love you". I guess "it was how he was raised" or something akin to that.



When the girl was little she was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities such as Girl Scouts and Art lessons and Dancing and Swim team. The girl was quite good at dancing and danced from age 3 to age 19. She taught dance for the last 3 of those years along with dancing competitively (and expensively) and winning many many trophies and titles. She competed all over the United States and was invited to dance one summer for a cruise line but since she was 17 her mom drew the line (talk about crushing the dream.....the girl just knew it was the end of the world). The girl was also an avid and very good swimmer. The girl competed in swimming during the dancing off-season (summer) and was highly ranked in that as well. Would you believe that the girl's Dad never came to see her dance or swim. Never. Well, maybe once he came to see her swim and then probably only because her brother was swimming too and maybe once (and only once and stayed for one dance) to a recital, but even that's up for debate. My point is that the Dad never thought twice about it. I think the Dad didn't realize how important it was to the girl and I don't think he knew the hole it left that it wasn't important to him. On the flip side he loved to brag about how accomplished his daughter was and how she won this and did that and could have danced for Carnival and blah blah blah, but never once did he show her that pride and admiration. Not once. She believed she would never be good enough, nothing was ever enough. When the girl did something that wasn't up to snuff or something he didn't think was up to snuff, she was often times called stupid. (stupid is the worst word you can say to her to this day.....she will spit in your face and you will no longer exist to her if you call her or her children or anyone she loves stupid.......inanimate objects can be stupid but people, and most of all children, should NEVER be called stupid). This is not to say he didn't or doesn't love her. He does, he just very rarely shows it in any way shape or form. I don't think he has any clue of the stigma that the word stupid carries for her.



Over the years the shine wore off and she no longer thought her Dad hung the moon. She started to see that not all Dad's were like her Dad and that some Dad's loved hanging out with and being a part of their children's lives. She started to notice that some Dad's were even supportive and all that dad stuff. She noticed that she didn't like that her dad seems ignorant sometimes and racist sometimes and didn't like the way he treated her Mom most all the time. She was starting think maybe she didn't like him so much. She loved him sure, but she was pretty sure she didn't like him too much. This went on for years and years and years, etc. ( so many more sordid details left out....trying not to make it a novel, just a story)

Then one day the girl got married and had her first baby. Something happened when she had that baby. This Dad that she'd been loving and hating at the same time all these years turned to mush and fell instantly in love with his new granddaughter. He doted on her. He treated her like he should have treated his daughter. The girl was happy with that. Very happy. So happy her daughter would never wonder if she was or why she wasn't good enough.

Skip ahead 6 years and one miscarriage. The girl is now 6 months pregnant with her second baby and has been admitted to the hospital for the remainder of her pregnancy due to a placenta previa and several big bleeds. The girl is beyond devastated. The girl is not in a good mental state. You see, the hospital she has been admitted to is an hour from home. This means she cannot go to work (and desperately needs to.....desperately), this means she cannot see her husband and daughter every day because they have to work and go to school. This means that she probably won't get a lot of visitors because it's not that convenient and after the newness of her being admitted wears off, people won't think to come and she will and did become very lonely and depressed. She was right. Wouldn't you think her parents would be there? You would and should think that. Her Dad came to see her exactly ONE time in that month. Once. He stayed for about 15 minutes. He didn't like hospitals you see.

Unfortunately and fortunately one month into the incarceration (as she refers to it) and 3 days (it was leap year) after her birthday (yes, she spent her birthday in the hospital...oh AND she missed her 6 year old's birthday party and everything too) she had another big bleed. This one caused major blood loss and she was sent in for emergency c-section to get baby out and save Mommy. The baby was delivered at 34 weeks. She was 4lbs. 13oz. and she was rushed immediately to NICU. She wasn't ready, obviously. The girl was terrified and her husband almost didn't make it to the hospital in time. She was prepped for surgery when he burst through the OR doors in time to get scrubbed and prepped himself. Barely. Like literally 30 seconds. The next morning the girl's Mom and Dad (shock) showed up bringing her oldest daughter with them to see Mommy and Daddy and the new baby. Mom would have stayed all day. Dad wanted to see the baby and get to steppin.......so that he did. He saw the baby and then they left.....wham bam thank you ma'am.

Fast forward 7 or 8 months. The girl and her family are doing good. The baby is thriving and wonderful. Business is slow and money is tight. She works at her family's business. Her dad is in the process of retiring. He is 64 years old. It's October and he gets a cold. A month later he still has the cold, it won't go away. Even weirder is that he's having these nose bleeds too. He goes to the doctor, they give him antibiotics and send him on his way. Not working. This goes on for a couple weeks. They do an endoscopy to try to see why it's bleeding. They find what seems to be an overgrown polyp. They biopsy it and try to remove it...too much bleeding. Can't remove all of it. Biopsy comes back. It's cancer. It's not just any cancer.....it's melanoma. The girl is beside herself. She is inconsolable. She is grappling with why she is so upset and if she is allowed to be this upset when she doesn't deserve to be because of her past opinions of her dad.

INSIDE the sinus cavity. It's Mucosal Melanoma. Very VERY rare. Like only 1000 cases since 1924. Extremely rare. Fine, we'll remove it, deal with it. So he has another surgery by a specialist at a renowned hospital about 2 hours from home. Successful. They get it all. No chemo (none is effective for melanoma) and no radiation. Thank God. Two weeks later he gets a scan and BOOM.....more cancer. New tumor. The girl is once again terrified and inconsolable. This is her dad, how can this be happening and my God, sure they didn't always get along, but she didn't want to lose him forever. This surgery is far worse. They remove the bones and all sinus tissue in the left cheek and nose. Leaves him somewhat disfigured, but cancer free. Very very hard recovery. Still getting through it. 3 weeks into radiation.

Fast forward to today. Strange lump on Dad's forehead and getting bigger every day. May be a cyst? They decide to biopsy to be safe. As the girl sits at her desk, tears streaming down her face she writes a story about her Dad. She isn't sure how she is supposed to feel and if she is allowed to be as heartbroken as she is. She has after all not gotten along with him very well all the time.

At the same time, her Dad is at the doctor's office........ I'm very sorry Mr. Dad but it's more melanoma.......

12 comments:

Jennifer said...

It is ok to be heartbroken. Feelings are never wrong, be they good or bad, they are always right. You can't change him or the way you feel, but it is ok to be sad.

I'm sorry. Email me if you need me. You know I've been through this.

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

I could have written the same post almost word for word about the girl's younger days. My Dad was the same exact way. We did not have the best relationship and I hardly ever saw him in highschool. I reconciled with him out of highschool and now work for him and see him everyday. He had a heart attack a few years ago that made me reflect upon him as you are doing right now. He is still the grumpy negative old man he always was but I just try to accept him as is and deal with his grumpiness. I do call him out on it and I think he likes it in some sort of weird way. I have always said he is a way better grandparent than he ever was a Dad.

I am pretty sure I can understand how you are feeling. I am here for you if you need a shoulder, ear or virtual hug!

Cameron said...

Big hugs A, that is awful.

kmoye said...

This story stopped me in my tracks.
Tell that girl that everyone deserves love from their father and that she has every right to be heartbroken. Maybe that girl should tell her dad how she feels before she can't.

vanna said...

love and hugs, i miss you!!

Tenakim said...

I'm so sorry! My husband lost his dad last year and had a tumultuous relationship like this with him. He adored him and never let anyone speak poorly of him, but hated him and his neglectfulness. His death was sudden and unexpected and my husband still struggles with his feeling for and about him. You need to bite the bullet and make him sit with you and talk it out. I think you may find he meant well and just wasn't good at showing it! You both need to make peace so you can deal with his health.

Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. How you feel is completely normal.

Merrie said...

Lots of hugs and thoughts to you! It's hard with family, isn't it? We don't pick them, they're picked for us, and they aren't necessarily people we would choose. (I have a lot of that.) Feel what you're feeling -- there's no shame in that.

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