My biological father died on July 4th. He lives in North Carolina and was on vacation with his family for the week. The ocean swallowed him up and spit him back out. He’s the first one they talk about, Randy.
Here’s a link:
It’s horrible. I haven’t even begun to process what’s happening. Many of you that follow my blog know I moved to South Carolina in January. At that point I hadn’t seen my father for over 10 years. Once I decided I was leaving and moving back to Florida my dad said we need to meet. He said “there’s no way I’m going to let you be this close and not see you”. So we saw one another. We met halfway. It was sweet and we picked up right where we left off. Also, we were both wearing rubber bands on our wrists. I asked him why he did it he said “I just like it”. You remember from a previous blog why I do it. I took a photo of our wrists because I couldn’t believe we had both intentionally put rubber bands on our wrists. I took his black one. I am wearing it now as I type.
grainy photo taken with my iPhone
My biological father and I have become much closer over the past two years. After the death of the man who raised me (and whom I also call dad) I contacted my biological father and asked if we could be friends again, if we could move on. His answer? “Hell yes?” He was so happy. I would later learn from my sister that ever since I cut my father off from speaking to me several years back, he started drinking more and was depressed. Also, it was my fault we hadn’t been speaking. I was still hurt and held a lot of resentment from the past. I told him when I wanted to talk to him I’d call him.
I never knew I had that much of an impact on his life. I guess I know now. Over the past two years we learned more about one another and truly became friends. Even though moving to SC wasn’t one of my best decisions, I know that without having moved I probably wouldn’t have seen my dad for an even longer time. Maybe not even before his death.
this post isn’t about that. It’s about people and how they respond to things like this. I’m still in shock so if I sound bold here, I’m really not. My last few days have been spent staring off into space, crying, and moving my body from one chair to another. I’ve been alone. My mom worked the past two days and even though I have friends, nobody has come to see me.
I suppose I’m being a bit overdramatic here I mean, what do I expect? I JUST had a dad die, didn’t I? What should I expect from anyone? People have their own lives to deal with. But, I haven’t eaten much. Aren’t people supposed to cook for the bereaved? I feel dizzy (though that may be remnants of the Klonipin my mother gave me last night to help me sleep). I’m numb. I randomly burst into tears and I’m hearing from people via text message. Some text me the first or second day it happened and I suppose they think that’s good enough. But, it isn’t good enough.
I think what I am noticing is the selfishness in others and I’m asking myself how selfish I am. I recently met a friend who said he was recently so depressed he stopped paying all of his bills, barely went to work (and was almost fired) and he gave away his beloved dog because he knew he couldn’t take care of it. He said “nobody cared”. Nobody cared. Nobody cares. That seems to be a theme when it comes to others suffering.
The night I found my father drown in the ocean I sat outside on the swing. It was like the fireworks were mocking my sorrow, as if nobody cared my world was just shattered. Nobody cared about my sister who swam to try and save my father, to no avail. How tragic. Not to mention his wife and son. His wife who he’s been married to for over 25 years. His son who was supposed to drive to the beach with them the day before but arrived just in time to see his father’s lifeless body be dragged onto the shore.
We are faced with challenges. It’s a balancing act, I know. I’ve been struggling for over 2 years since the death of the man I knew as “dad” all of my life. After I was able to refocus after his death I thought-I should be grateful, it’s not the same but I still have a father. I struggled with guilt regarding not only that but also how close do I get with Randy? How do I talk about my dead “dad” when HE was my “dad”?
This year I forgot it was Father’s Day. I suppose my mind blocked it out for me. It would’ve been nice living in Oblivion but when I logged into Facebook I saw photos of kids with dads holding them and “Happy Father’s Day” messages were splattered everywhere. I broke down crying. Sobbing would be more like it. I can’t describe how it felt to a. realize I tuned out it was Father’s Day and b. realize my relationship with my father, Randy, was good enough now that I needed to tell him Happy Father’s Day but I couldn’t tell Lowell (my step-dad) Father’s Day. People around me were calling their dads telling them hi and all I wanted to do was hear my step-dad’s voice. But, I couldn’t.
Some big awkward text to my biological father came out. I felt embarrassed by what I said and how I said it. I was confused and sad but I didn’t want to hurt him. I kept texting him back apologizing to make sure he didn’t confuse what I had said, or take it the wrong way. I had another breakdown. Sobbing on the edge of the bed. Grief and loss is the most confusing thing I’ve ever had to deal with. While I was crying, he called me. I didn’t answer because I was crying. He left a message (which is still on my phone and I listened to today) gently and sweetly reassuring me that nothing was wrong and that he felt special I even called him at all. I could tell by his voice he was worried about me. Maybe he kept waiting for me to pick the phone up because his message was over 2 minutes long. I didn’t pick it up. I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want him to hear me so upset.
I did speak with him the next day and we talked about gardening and plants. He was ecstatic that I was so into gardening and we shared tips on how to keep critters out of the veggies. He asked if I needed anything. He said he was going to send me a care package. He said he loved me and he was so happy to hear from me.
That was the last time we spoke but we’ve emailed and text several times since. I received an email from him 2 days before he died. Two weeks ago I signed an “intent to hire” with a local high school. I was so happy I was finally able to look forward to work and getting my life back in order. I drove home to see my mother for a few days before heading back to Jacksonville to start getting ready for when school starts in August. Two days after I got home I received an email from the school board telling me that “due to a surplus in our county your intent to hire will not be processed as there is no position”. They were sorry if they caused any inconvenience. I shared the bad news with my dad and here’s what he said:
What the Frick? Damn Carmen,,,what a shame! I know this sucked bad, and hit you hard, but it obviously was not meant to be for you…life sure has a way at times to kick you good and hard when you’re already down…been there, been kicked,but somehow, I always managed to get back up and start kickin “lifes” ass! You WILL get back up baby! There IS something out there with your name on it! I‘ll be praying hard for the right thing to happen for you! Keep an open mind and think outside the norm. You can do anything you set your mind to! You’ve proven this over and over… I love you baby. I’m here for ya,,,you’ll get through this I know!
…and those will be the last words I’ll ever hear him say.