I thought I’d follow up that last post with an even more accurate depiction of the dynamics of the relationship between my father and I. Browsing through my journal for blogging topics, I came across an entry I made the night before I saw my dad for the last time. I specifically remember sitting on the brown-carpeted floors of his bedroom, against the closet doors, while him and my brother watched a movie in the living room.
It’s settling in that tonight is the last night I’m ever going to see my dad. Today was the last day I’ll ever spend with him. I’m overwhelmed by so many emotions right now. Last night, I lay on the futon listening to the clock’s second hand tick against the sound of my dad’s snore and I couldn’t help but think that he could stop breathing at any moment – that the clock was like a taunting hourglass. Nothing changes either – my dad is still short-tempered, my brother still judgmental and I’m sitting in the other room writing because they’re watching a terrible movie called Machete full of blood, gore and pornography. I feel depressed. A part of me just wants to leave right now. I’ve never enjoyed spending “quality” time with just my brother and my dad. I’m feeling lonely again – even more so right now. I reek of cigarette smoke. Ugh – I can’t even gather my thoughts. I’m stressed about money to boot. I need exercise and meditation. At least the weather is supposed to be decent tomorrow while driving back to KC. I’m thinking I’m going to take Tuesday off just to collect myself before returning to work.
I reeked of cigarette smoke because my dad could never quite give up the cancer stick – he smoked until the day he died. If I had known the things I know now about life and death, I probably wouldn’t have given him such a hard time about it back then. Alas, I didn’t know the things then that I know now so I would often hide his ashtrays, lighters and packets of cigs only to be chewed out Italian daddy to daughter style, “Young lady, you bring me my fuckin’ ashtray back here right now or so help me…” or some variation of that.
During the three months I spent in Kansas City the Spring/Summer of 2009, I researched just about everything I possibly could on cancer, specifically the kind of cancer my father was battling. I would actually go as far as to say that I know too much about cancer. Nevertheless, one of my most intriguing findings was that of biomedicine and the benefits of asparagus purée. Without going into too much of the scientific details, I would buy fresh asparagus, put it in a blender and purée it with a pinch of salt for taste and encourage my dad to take two spoonful’s a day. Getting him to actually take it was a battle in and of itself. Even if some of the miraculous stories I came across ended up on Snopes or some other urban legend type website, I was willing to try any and every thing to free my dad of cancer or at least get that shit into remission, thus extending his life expectancy.
I recall my dad coming to the bedroom shortly after I finished writing that last sentence. He was checking up on me and wasn’t enjoying the gruesome flick as much as I feared he was. Not to mention, he was exhausted. It was an awkward last good night complete with one of his fantastic hugs – the sincere kind – you all know the kind I’m talking about. I bid him a restful night and retreated to the second bedroom to lie down, myself.
When I woke the next morning and packed the car for the short trip back to Kansas City, I felt a guilt-ridden sense of relief to be leaving. I also felt a heaviness in my heart at an actual “goodbye” because not only am I more of a “see you later” kind of gal, I was aware that I was all out of time to ever obtain the coveted title of “Daddy’s little girl.” Even at the age of twenty-six, I think I was still vying for that type of relationship with him. Enter, daddy issues! The first step to recovery is recognition and I am pleased to announce that I am well on my way!