Posted by: Nice Melons | May 5, 2009

I miss my Daddy.

I was going through boxes today (no surprise there) and came across some pictures of me and my Dad. I was a little toddler – these were taken when we moved to Phoenix – the first time in 1970.  This is the pool where I nearly drowned.  Thank goodness my Daddy-O was a lifeguard.
Me and Dad (and the hose) by the pool circa 1970

Me and Dad (and the hose) by the pool, Phoenix circa 1970

I lost him nearly 4 years ago on May 4, 2005. He died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix after a brief struggle with cancer. Six weeks after he checked into the hospital, he was gone.

When he was first experiencing pain – and this was a major admission on his part; both he an I have a pretty high threshold for pain – he went to the doctor who gave him a few X-rays, told him he had arthritis, and sent him home with some anti-inflammitories.

Fast-forward a couple weeks.

I was living in LA and struggling with serious Rheumatoid Arthritis issues after successfully breaking into the recording studios. Faced with selling my house and ousting my deadbeat boyfriend, he came to my rescue and forcibly removed him from my house… fracturing portions of his spine in the process.

I realized then that there was something seriously wrong with my Dad.

Two weeks after the removal of the deadbeat boyfrieind, he was going back to the doctor with more complaints of pain. I was still in LA, working on getting the house sold.

Three days after the house went on the market, my brother called with the bad news that Dad had cancer. The primary was in his lungs, a small spot on the liver, but that it had gotten into his bones. It was, in fact, everywhere. Everywhere. Somehow, I was not surprised.

Two days later I was back in Phoenix, which I had attempted to escape since my high school graduation in 1986. I came home to behold a man who, most of his life at 6′ 4″, weighed around 180- 200 pounds. Now he was weighing less than I; I am 5′ 10″ and around 150 pounds. My Dad weighed at 132 and looked like a skeleton with very thin skin stretched across his body. He was still able to eat at this point, and concentrated on proteins and leafy greens.

This was in a hospital in Chandler. Since the cancer had moved into his bones, and the most life-threatening portion was wrapping itself around his vertebrae in his neck just below his brain, we had him transferred to Barrow Neurological at St. Joe’s. The ironic thing was that one of the consulting surgeons, Dr. Sonntag, was my mother’s brain surgeon in 1982 when she had a brain tumor about the size of a baseball removed. Dr. Sonntag, bless his heart, said he remembered me. I thought it was BS, but he – in his 80s, mind you – remembered when I came to see my Mom in my formalwear for the Christmas dance I was attending when I was a Freshman. He remembered the color of my dress – teal – and the corsage I wore. Amazing stuff. In any case, he tried to be positive about my Dad, who he also remembered… but he presented a factual case of what could happen and for that, I am most grateful.

Still… nothing prepared me for watching my Father die. I am grateful that I was there with him. During his lucid moments, I told him how much I loved him. He replied, “this is the only thing that is good about this whole mess.” My Dad and I had never really seen eye-to-eye for years about my choice of careers and my direction in life, but over the last 5 years prior to his death, he finally realized that I was on the right path.


Responses

  1. I’ve been thinking about this post (and you) on and off for a while. Very personal. Very open. It’s wonderful telling of you and your dad.

    Hope all is well with you and the new place.

  2. I got to hang with my brother and sister-and-law over the weekend. It was awesome. They were both there with me when we said goodbye. I’m so glad they were there. My bro and I talked about old times… it as all good.


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