You know how they say that things don’t always go the way you plan? That’s very true, and I’m learning the hard way that things don’t work with my design.
I talked to my mother yesterday, and she gave me some upsetting news about my dad. Rather than get into the specifics of it, let’s just say that he could be very sick, and that makes me very, very scared. I know I talk a lot about fear and the things that scare people, so I’m going to divulge one of my biggest fear-based secrets:
My biggest fear in life is losing my father.
I’ve already lost so much time with him… between being a stupid teenager and then moving three hours away from home, I’ve lost roughly the last fifteen years. Time that could have been better spent making my dad an active part of my life has been thoughtlessly wasted. Not that I haven’t thought about it… believe me, I have. Every time I think about him I want to cry because I miss him so much. Now that conversation with my mother has thrown into very sharp relief the fact that my actions over the last several years border on neglect.
And yes, neglect travels both ways.
That I’ve accepted my actions doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t frighten me any less. If anything, it only makes me want to get in the car, go home, and never, ever leave his side again. And – yes, I know the chances of something happening are slim – I don’t want to be left thinking “I’ll see him this weekend” and then never get that chance.
Plus it’s a bit ironic that he would meet his youngest granddaughter and suddenly decide to stop smoking a month before this happens.
I’m not ready to admit that he’s an old man. I’m not ready to lose him yet, or even face the possibility of it. Whether he knows it or not, my dad has been my stability my entire life. He’s the one person I look up to – he’s got the work ethic of a Clydesdale – and the one person I know will always be there for me no matter what. I just hate that I couldn’t always say the same the other way around.
I remember the exact moment my relationship with my dad broke. I remember the stupid thing I said and the look on his face. But I was fifteen and too stupid to know that all I had to do was go after him and take it back. He would have forgiven me…and yes, I know that he has now. But I still hate myself for doing that to him. For knowing that I hurt someone who loves me unconditionally.
The one good thing that has come of this is that the idea of sitting around thinking about it has spurred me into action. I picked up my notebook last night and started writing. So far the words are flying out of my head – I think it’s mainly a diversionary tactic – I keep myself from thinking about my dad by doing horrible things to others. Bad, I know… but if it keeps me sane then it keeps me sane.
This week might be productive, if for no other reason than I don’t want to think.