Jun 15, 2008

Father's Day

"Happy" Father's Day? Not so much.
Today is the 16th Father's Day that has rolled around since my stepdad died, and the 7th since my 'biological father' (BF) passed away.
BF was pretty much out of my life before I was a year old, and did a re-appearing act about 4 years after my stepdad was gone. We weren't close at all, but he was sick and he needed my help. Or so I was told. Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy. Congestive heart failure because he had drank so much, he had killed 85% of his heart's pumping ability. I moved him into an apartment, got him on disability, was his personal home health nurse..and my thanks? His coming in via ambulance to the ER where I am working because he is drunk-on mouthwash-and vomiting blood. Profusely. After 3 days, he was moved from our local hospital to one in Meridian. The bleeding stopped, but he had been on high-flow oxygen for days at this point. Somehow, no one realized he had been a heavy smoker for 50 years; he had COPD, and the hi-flow O2 not only depressed his respiratory drive, it also caused him to retain a godawful amount of CO2. I was called at work by the ICU to let me know he was unresponsive with a CO2 of 150, and they were about to intubate him and put him on a ventilator. I said NO. He would have never recovered, would have been severely brain-damaged if he lived, and had let me know that under no circumstances was he to be put on life-support. Of course, I still catch hell from my siblings for 'killing him'...especially when THEY have been drinking. C'est la vie.

My stepdad...now HE was my Daddy. He and Mom married before I was 2. He was a mess. I was terrified of him at times...but now I see why was the person he was-and realize how much of that he passed on to me. We laughed a lot-every Saturday morning, he woke me with his howling laughter at that latest escapades of Wile E. Coyote and the RoadRunner. He would have snot & tears from laughing so hard. He was a storyteller, too. He did love to talk. He also loved the outdoors-hunting and fishing were his passions. We had camps at several places over the years-on the Bogue Chitto River, the Pearl River at Columbia, Lake Mary Crawford, Homochitto and Sandy Creek. Almost every year, we went to the mountains on vacation-Ozarks or Smokies-and he believed in the road less traveled. A favorite memory is of him slamming on the brakes while screaming "Alligators!", then backing up to the site...of A PLUM TREE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Once he stopped, that was the sign for everyone to bail out, turn up your shirt-tail, and fill it with as many plums as possible before a car came up on us. He kept a salt shaker with him at all times for the green ones :) Several years from the times I was about 8 til I was around 15, Daddy worked offshore. On his weeks away, Mom and I would eat pizza and read-no cooking and no messes. When Daddy was home, we moved to the camp. He taught me to ride a bike, then we rode together through every trail we could find in the woods. Mom laughed because I had the only girls' bike that had 'mud grips' on it. We would float the Bogue Chitto on inner tubes during the day while mom was working-even after I broke my arm the week before school let out for the summer. He showed me how to paddle with one hand, and keep the cast on the tube. To say that cast was 'ripe' by the time it came off would be a gross understatement! He bought my class ring for me even when he and mom were separated, and bought me a new silver open-hole flute I had wanted forever for my senior year. Mom had a fit-it was over a thousand bucks, and well, I don't think he ever bought her anything that cost that much! The last 'gift' he gave me was a new stove when we found out I was pregnant. Our old stove was so old, it had push-button controls, and only 2 of the burners worked-and the oven was shot too. I still use that stove he gave me-now the burners need new brackets and are falling through the holes-but the thought of getting rid of it is unbearable.
We found out we were expecting twins while mom & dad had moved to Maryland during the construction boom. As soon as we told them, they sent us house-hunting for them so they could move nearby. 2 months later, they moved in and started remodeling. Once finished, they bought the old 2 1/2 story house next door to remodel and sell. Only a month into the work, Daddy got sick. His cough just wouldn't go away. He went to the doctor to get some cough medicine. They did a chest x-ray, and the next day, on a Saturday, the doc called he and Mom and asked them to come to the clinic right away. There was a tumor.
A month later, I had the boys.
6 months later, he was gone.
I miss you, Daddy.


mrs.h said...

I lost my dad several years ago and I still don't know that I'm up to talking about him. Mr. H is having his first Father's Day without his Pop. You've made me think about my dad and maybe in the next little while, I'll write about him.


Watercolor said...

Hugs hun.

From the Doghouse said...

I'm glad you had a (step) dad worthy of missing.

And I hope you tell your siblings exactly where they can go, complete with directions, when they make those comments.

Deanna said...

Some hurts don't ever go away... they just settle into your heart right along with the memories.

mrs.h said...

Clucky, you mentioned the Glamor Cat
Here's a picture I took last year. She's the calico. Mrs. Jones is black & white.

mrs.h said...

sorry, forgot the address:

black betty said...

thank goodness for your stepdad...i had two and neither one of them were worth a toot.