This post is about my dad. He died eleven years ago this very evening at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit from complications following cancer surgery. He was 52 years old. The older I get, the younger I realize that is. His death was a huge blow to me. Did I know it was coming. Yes. I knew. Even though nobody else semi-close to us really knew, I knew because I took him to the doctor all the time. I took him to the emergency room at least once every couple of weeks toward the end. I knew. Still, it was hard. I was 25 years old and I lost the best friend I ever had.
I still want to see him. Put my head on his shoulder. Hug him. Talk to him. Oh, how I would love to talk to him. He had a way of making me feel like we were equals and not really like father and daughter. We were friends. We talked about everything. Well, almost everything. Ok, so he would get uncomfortable when we watched TV and a tampon commercial would come on. Actually, most times he would leave the room. Aside from that kind of stuff we talked about everything.
I would be remiss if I talked about my dad as though the sum of who he was involved the six years that he fought a rare form of pancreatic cancer. There were things about him that were funny and charming and, though he could be a quiet guy, he was a kick to be around most times. I have some stories I would like to share. Some of you may have heard some of these, others maybe not. At any rate, they bear repeating. Without further ado, some random memories about my dad.
My dad was obsessed with getting a savage tan. In the summers, he spent all of his time (and I mean ALL) wearing a 1970's short-shorts bathing suit. No shirt. Flip flops. He claimed that it was nice to just wear a bathing suit because the underwear was built in. Eeeew...thanks Dad, couldn't done without that piece of information.
To match perfectly with his tan and bathing suit ensemble, dad would wear a gold rope chain necklace on which he had an Italian horn charm. Very cute, Dad. Lovely. I truly believe that it was much to his chagrin that he only had a very small patch of chest hair. I believe he would have gladly rocked an oh-so-70's hair sweater.
Ok, so in keeping with the above theme, once my dad decided it would be a great idea to experiment with ways to accelerate his tan. He had tried baby oil and it worked great so he decided to take it up a notch. Peanut oil. What a brilliant idea! Dad rubbed peanut oil all over his body and decided to do outside and cut the grass. Half way through the job, I heard dad exclaim, "oh shit, I'm burning..." He came flying through the door like a flash and headed straight for a cold shower. You see, if you know anything about peanut oil you know that it just keeps cooking. That's why people use peanut oil to cook Thanksgiving turkeys. The oil just keeps penetrating. So maybe not such a great idea after all, Dad.
Until the end, my dad would puff up his cheek so I could kiss it and make all the air blow out his mouth. So, I got to do that with my dad until I was 25.
Dad called my childhood dog, Muffin, my sister. When he felt like I hadn't seen him in a while, he would call me and say that my sister was missing me.
The first time I ever danced with a man, it was with my dad and I stood on top of his feet. I sure wish I could do that now. Of course, if I did it now I would crush his feet.
So, as I said, my dad was my total BFF. After all this time he enters my mind every single day. Sadly, he never got to meet my husband in person. I met my now hubby about 3 months before Dad died. He was invited to have dinner with us but he was studying for his law school exams. I know it is one of his biggest regrets.
A couple of weeks after my dad died my brother, my hubby and I were at my dad's house cleaning some things out. We came across my Dad's old brown bomber jacket. When hubby saw it, he turned white as a sheet and asked me if that was my Dad's jacket. I said, "well, of course it's his jacket." He then told me that he'd had a dream a few nights after my Dad's death. In it we were at an intersection. I was on one side, my dad on the other, hubby on another. He said that my Dad was wearing that very jacket in the dream. (and I assure you that my hubs is not one to exaggerate.) A jacket that my hubby had never, ever seen before because he'd never actually met my Dad. My Dad crossed the street and told him that he was handing me over to him now and that he wanted him to take care of me. And he has been taking care of my ever since. That would not be the only time Dad would visit in dreams, but it was the only time he visited my hubby in dreams. It's been a while but I sure would love for him to come and see me in one of mine again. Even if he is wearing that damn bathing suit.