June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day...the good, the bad, and the ugly...

Happy Father's Day.  This is a tough one for me this year.  The first since my dad passed on December 7, 2012.  I find it NOT ironic at all that he passed on the "Day of Infamy".  I actually find it poetic justice, and I'm pretty sure he would have liked the association.  Feeling kinda down this Father's Day.  I think I will actually go visit Pops today.  It will mark the first time I've been to his burial sight since he passed.  I just never felt the urge to go there...until today.  It's just a "shrine".  Not where dad truly is.  That place would be my heart.  But today I'm feeling I need something physical.  So I'm taking my heart to the cemetery and plan on having a good convo with dad.  

I thought in honor of Pops, I would re-post my blog entry from LAST Father's Day.  I posted this originally on June 15, 2012.  Happy Father's Day dad.  Alzheimer's might have robbed you of your memories, but I'm still here which means your memory lives on.

Happy Father's Day...the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... (originally posted 6/15/2012)

Happy Father's Day to my male parental unit.  Yes, posting a bit early.  But I've had Father's Day on the brain for awhile now.  Dad has taken up permanent residence in there recently.  Which I guess is fair since I've probably occupied his brain in varying degrees for the last 52 years.  My Pops, gosh I love him.  He is my first love.  He is the man I use as a measuring stick for every guy who has come in and out of my life.  He is my hero. Father's Day is a bit tough this year.  Pops has Alzheimer's.  I hope he remembers that I love him.  I hope I told him enough.  But I'm thinking it is never enough.

"Alzheimer's...Looking Over My Shoulder"

I visited Pops earlier this week.  It was a visit no different than what I have become accustom to.  Which is a disconcerting realization in itself.  I was happy for the nurses aide who came to sit down at our table when she noticed I was showing dad a family photograph from Thing #1's recent law school graduation.  Dad didn't know who any of us were in the photo, and appeared a bit stressed by the situation. Perhaps the aide saw that I was getting a bit teary eyed.  I'm just glad she plopped herself down for whatever reason.  One-sided conversations are extremely exhausting (I'm sure a bit of Karma from all those dad/daughter teen-aged talks).  She joked with dad a bit.  Those workers on the floor are angels disguised in scrubs. Then she said to me "I'll bet your dad was a GREAT father...I can tell by just seeing how he looks at you". He still is...no past tense needed. But her insight into my dad made me smile.

My dad was a police officer in Washington, D.C. and he was a District Justice in our home town.  He had MAJOR connections...for a small town.  Connections that absolutely KILLED my social life!!!!  I replied "Oh yeah, he was a GREAAAAAT dad, but he made it nearly impossible for me to get a date!!!".  That's what happens when the police department has your make and model car, plus license plate number on file...all courtesy of my Pops.  Add in the fact he was a downright imposing figure physically...all 6'4" of him.  In part, I think it was why I was so anxious to leave town as soon as I could, it's tough always being known as "The Judge's" girl.  I never wanted to let him down by doing something to embarrass him.   I rolled my eyes telling her the stories, then admitted "But...I am soooo much like him".   Up until a few years ago, that was the one accusation thrown at me that would totally flip my lid.  "You are just like your dad!!!!"  Yep, the good, the bad AND the ugly.  

"By the way, I paid him to take you"

The Good.  Gosh, the list is actually longer now than I remember it being when I was growing up.  I don't think I truly appreciated dad's humor until my wedding day.  As we started to walk down the aisle he looked at me and said "By the way, I paid him to take you."  WTF??!!??  But immediately followed by placing his hand upon mine and telling me that no matter WHAT happens, he would always be there for me.  And boy did I take him up on the offer a few times over the years.  A great combo of a dry sense of humor AND fierce sense of loyalty and protection that I'm proud to claim as my own too.  I would without remorse deploy the town police department to watch over my own Things, if I only had the clout.  I also inherited my Pop's love of ice cream, baseball, moral compass, sense of honor and family, and his over exuberance in spending for Christmas morning...but thank goodness NOT his thinning hair line.  Now THAT would just be downright embarrassing.

The Bad.  Oh yeah, Dad might be a God...but he's a God with some flaws too.  Funny, I have the same flaws...go figure.  Extreme Type A personality, perfectionist, with a middle name of "Because I said so".  It is usually when I exhibit THESE traits that the family can tick me off in a nano-second with the acute observation "You are JUST like your dad".  Irritates me to no end because these are the exact traits that made being Dad's daughter a real pain in the arse and which I swore I would NEVER be like.

"Walking a Fine Line"

And...the Ugly.  Aside from God's warped sense of humor by bestowing upon me, THE shoe maven of the family, dad's ugly, ugly, UGLY feet.  I have to admit that dad's Alzheimer's scares the bejeezus out of me.  I find myself testing my brain daily.  I start each day by reciting my Things names. If I can get those right...I'm good to go.  But seeing what ugliness this disease has brought upon this giant of a  man looms large in my own brain. Is my increasing forgetfulness and brain hiccups the beginning of the end?  Or is it just mush-brain as a result of being 52?  I have no freakin' idea.  At times, I feel I'm walking a fine line waiting for the shoe to drop on me. Albeit a fashionable shoe.  If it can happen to my hero, the sharpest man I know, believe me...it can happen to anyone.   Rational thought tells me it isn't good to let this color my world.  But rational thought sometimes goes out the window when you see what Alzheimer's can do to the strongest of men.  At my most vulnerable I wonder what chance do I have?  I'm just a total Daddy's Girl who really misses being able to talk to her dad.  But I know what he would tell me "Kath, there's enough in life to worry about that IS in your control, don't sweat the other stuff".

Dear Dad,

There isn't anything I can give you that comes wrapped up in a box.  
If I could, I would call the police department and tell them to protect you with all their resources, 
no matter how embarrassing that might be
 (from personal experience I can tell ya it could be awkward at times).  
And even tho I would have paid people to take YOU at certain times in my life, 
I can tell you now that no matter what happens I will always be there for you.  
I am proud to be "just like my dad". 
And because you can never say it enough, I love you Dad with all my heart. 
But I hope you already know that...because I said so!!!!!! 

Happy Father's Day Pops

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  1. Loved this post. Don't look over your shoulder too much. Just live life to it's fullest and cherish all of the memories you now hold in that gorgeous head of yours. xox Your dad sounds as though he was VERY special.

  2. I don't go to the cemetery as often as I did at first - I, too, know it's just a "place" - my dad's not really there. BUT there is something to say for the physical part of just being there & being able to talk to him.......all alone, just him & me - oh & my mom is always listening too, just as she did when she was alive.
    {{{{Hugs}}}) to you on this, another day of "firsts" since your dad's passing.

  3. What a beautiful post that touches my heart...I'm sending good thoughts your way, Kathy, on this tough day.

  4. Oh Kathy, what a touching post. So sorry that today is hard for you. It is for me as well, since my dad has made the conscious choice to not be in my life. I find it so hard to be on facebook and see all the happy pictures today - thank you for posting this, I needed to think of something greater and more special!

    1. Yep, tough day on Facebook isn't it! I'm sorry your dad is missing from your life. It's a hole for sure. But from what I have learned about you, it sure appears your family (mom, sister, nephew) has flourished and filled in any gaps. Happy FAMILY day to you Tamar :)

  5. I loved it last year and this year too. Still so sorry for your loss. Sometimes having something tangible helps in the grief process. I still have many of my dad's hurts. I like remembering him in them. One day I will make a quilt for ME.

  6. Replies
    1. Laura, my mom made us all pillows out of some of my dad's butto down shirts. And I remember each and every shirt that she used. It's a great "piece" of him to have.

    2. And totally with ya on the auto correct....BUTTON not butto :)

  7. Touching post. This day is hard for me as well. My mom was both parents. She was taken away suddenly & far too soon. So, I get a double dose of sadness back to back. Mother's & Father's day. Keeping you in prayer on this special day.

  8. awwww Kathy, I'm sure this was a difficult entry to write!! I always had a fractured relationship with my dad.....I wish I could miss him but I don't!! It's great to read about your wonderful relationship with him, you are lucky to have loved him sooooo much!!

  9. Kathy - a heart wrenching post. My father passed away in 2001 and while I miss him dearly, there are times when I'll see an older man standing in the same manner, or walking in the same manner, or something that hits hard just how much I miss him. Alzheimer is so horrible and impartial about who it consumes. Hold tight those memories and belief that he knows how much you love him. I suspect he does.


  10. I remember the first Father's Day after my Dad passed away. It was so sad for me and just horrible. I went to the card shop and bought him a card and a Father's Poem book and took it to the cemetery and laid them on his grave anyway. Somehow it made me feel better. That had to be hard losing your Dad right before Christmas too. Yes, the family chain is broken when we lost them. I feel for you and I send you big huge hugs right now ♥ It will get easier for you as more time passes ♥ xo

  11. My heart goes out to you... thankfully you have good memories of him to comfort you...Thanks for sharing on WTS...