17 Jun Sometimes, You Just Need Your Dad
I tried extremely hard to stay off of the internet today.
I wanted to avoid the Facebook status updates, the tweets, the Instagram posts.. I really didn’t want to see it at all.
I’m usually pretty ok with it too. I’ve become quite the emotionless person (not for a lack of effort) and little things usually don’t get to me.
But this year, Father’s Day has been a little bit more difficult.
This year, I really miss my dad.
For those who are new to UO, you may be unaware that on August 30th, 2009, my dad passed away after battling a rare blood disease and having a bone marrow transplant.
It’s almost been 4 years since it happened.
It’s been long enough that it’s just a terrible memory, but not long enough that I can still hear his voice and see his smile in my mind. It’s been long enough that I don’t get very sad when I think about him anymore, but not long enough that I still think about how much I need him right now. It’s been long enough that life has continued on, but not long enough to forget his impact on mine.
As you all know, my Crohn’s disease is back. I have been dealing with random stomach aches, symptoms from medications, and a general unfortunate change in my overall life.
But it’s different this time around.
Not because it hasn’t been too rough (which, I couldn’t be more thankful for), but because I don’t have my dad to take care of me.
I’ll preface what I’m about to say by clarifying how amazing my mother was during my sickness. I do not want to make it seem like she wasn’t an incredibly strong woman for being able to handle my disease, and keeping up a job, and a household, and a younger child, because she was. However, as my mother worked out of the home, her and I had a very different connection while I was sick than I did with my dad. Since he worked from home, my dad was always there.
On the days I would try and go to school, but not quite make it past the first couple hours because of the pain, he’d pick me up, put me on the couch, get me a nice hot water bottle for my stomach, and wrap me up in a blanket in front of the TV. On the days when I couldn’t eat, he’d make up a silly game to make me take shots of those disgusting meal replacement shakes so I’d get some nutrition. On the nights when I couldn’t sleep because of side effects of medication, he’d stay up with me and give me riddles to try and solve until I’d fall asleep. He would ask the doctors all sorts of ridiculous questions to make sure all my treatments were safe, he would take me to the hospital on the days I really needed to go, and he would crack jokes whenever he could to keep my mind off the pain and suffering I was dealing with.
This time around, I find myself going to doctor’s appointments, visiting the hospital, and sitting through treatments on my own. I no longer have my dad to question every decision a doctor could suggest. I no longer have my dad to accompany me to the hospital and tell me jokes to distract me. I no longer have my dad to give me a pep talk before I go into a procedure, reminding me that I am strong.
The worst part is, I no longer have my dad to rub my back when my stomach hurts.
As the years go on, and memories start to fade ever so slightly, there is one so vivid that I will never forget it.
I was visting my dad in the hospital, a few days into his chemotherapy, which they had given him before his bone marrow transplant. He was alone that afternoon and I had come to keep him company. The chemo had started getting to him and he wasn’t feeling well, he told me as he laid in the hospital bed on his side. I remember sitting next to him, on the bed, and rubbing his back, almost as if by instinct. A few minutes later, a nurse who I had not met, came in to check his IV machine. She said hello to me and my dad immediately chimed in, with a giant grin on his face, to introduce me:
“This is my daughter. She’s rubbing my back like I used to do when she was sick a long time ago.”
I will never, ever, ever, forget that smile.
While the day is almost over, and I’ll soon be able to get back onto the internet as per normal, the thoughts of my dad will linger. Now, every time I see a doctor, I always make sure to ask the ridiculous questions that my dad would have asked. Now, every time I walk into the hospital, I find something to giggle at to take my mind off the reason I’m there, as my dad would have done. And now, every time I am about to go in to a procedure, I remind myself that my dad always knew I could handle anything that came my way.
For all of you who have spent the day with your dad, or just an hour with him, or even just called him on the phone, I want to tell you how lucky you are. Sure, sometimes dad’s can be overbearing, or annoying, or they can even make you really really mad.. (mine surely did).. but no matter how much they may get to you, they are a part of your life. A part that you may not realize you’ll miss when they’re gone.
Happy Father’s Day.