Monday, December 12, 2005

A prayer for DGD

My father is a man of few words. No surprise really, with a wife and four daughters - he's lucky to ever get a word in edgewise. At 18 he married my mother, an interesting combination as they were so drastically different. Right before I was born around two years later, he started working for a factory in town, making military planes. They divorced when I was a few months, old - and I spent every other weekend, and two weeks in the summer at his house. He's now been on the same job nearly 26 years. He leaves for work every day at 4 a.m. and comes home tired, after fighting the hour long commute home (on a good day).

His mother died when he was eleven, and he was forced to become the sole caregiver to his two younger sisters, as his father picked up a second job (and rumor has it in the family a bottle) to ease the pain of his wife being gone. His father showed him little, if any affection - and my dad became less and less emotional with time. When I was a little girl, the only thing that mattered to me was making him happy. He was never emotionally giving, and he and I didn't see eye to eye in a lot of ways because I thought that it meant that he didn't love me.

My mother and he fought constantly over custody over me, to the point that I think the judges in the Family court knew me by sight. It was a horrible, ugly battle that now, looking back - made me realize that I would have been better off had I gone to live with him.

He missed out on my life from the time I was in sixth grade until I was seventeen (and already engaged at that point to my ex husband). Five years of my life he simply wasn't there. [I've found out later though, that he would attend my sporting events in high school - watching from the bleachers. I found a whole box of items he saved about me from the papers.] When I got into an early admissions program that allowed you to attend college full time at the beginning of your junior year in high school (yup - I called McConnell home too, Larisa), he said I wasn't ready. At sixteen, I thought I knew everything and thought that he resented the fact that I was starting college so early when he never had the opportunity. Besides, he hadn't been around so how would he know?

The summer after my first year in the program I got engaged, and he was livid - I wasn't in love with the man, and he knew it. I never told him what really happened between us, why I moved out and filed divorce.

When I decided to go to law school, he was concerned, I was leaving for another state, I was missing out on so much of my little sisters' lives. But we grew close, somehow despite what happened. We talk a lot now, long conversations that make my stepmother wonder what has gotten into him. We talk about politics, about love, about life. Things I imagined I would have talked to him about all this time that we lost if I had the opportunity.

When Michael and I eloped, Dad flipped out - not surprisingly considering that he's actually only around six or seven years older than my husband. But they too have established a relationship - largely built on sports, and fishing... and Dad calls to talk to him as much as he does to me.

A little over a year and a half ago, Daddy (I still call him that occasionally, although it's usually Dad) was in a bad car wreck and it messed up his back badly. He's fought the pain the last two years with a mix of prescription narcotics until he just simply couldn't go on any more. They're having surgery on his back tomorrow - it's going to last about five or six hours and I've never been so scared in my life. You see, my father has dealt with a lot in his lifetime, but he's never talked about it. He's never even acknowledged fear.

Night before last I asked him how he was feeling, and he said he was petrified. My father afraid? It would be as if admitting the world wasn't round, or the sky not blue. It was unspeakable.

And it made me love him more. It made me realize that this man I couldn't reach was beginning to open up little by little.

I can't be there tomorrow because of work obligations, and I'm afraid for him. Recovery will be anywhere up to six months long.

If you can, please say a prayer for our family or keep us in your thoughts.

Say a prayer for the man that I finally feel I'm getting to know.

For a little girl, who may be all grown up but is petrified of being unable to help her daddy.

17 Comments:

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous statia said...

I hope everything goes ok for your dad tomorrow.

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger DD said...

You, Daddy, and your family will get an extra prayer from me tonite. I'll pray for a complication-free surgery and a quick recovery for your Dad; and that you and your Dad's relationship continues to strengthen and grow.

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Nico said...

I will definitely be thinking of you and your Dad tomorrow. It is so great that he is part of your life now, hopefully the surgery will go swimmingly, and you will continue getting closer!

 
At 10:24 PM, Blogger daysgoby said...

Of course. Of course we will mention your Dad and his speedy recovery tonight, and for the next few months - and we'll hope you are able to see him soon, too.

 
At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Lori said...

I will keep you and your Dad in my thoughts. I hope the surgery goes well and the recovery goes as well as it can.

 
At 1:44 AM, Blogger Cass said...

Oh, sweetie. I will be thinking the best for you dad. And for you.

 
At 2:02 AM, Blogger Millie said...

Thinking of you and your daddy and hoping all goes well.

 
At 4:46 AM, Anonymous thalia said...

April, I'll be sending your father and you my best healing thoughts and wishes. I'm so glad that you've been able to reestablish such a strong relationship with him. A testatment to you both. Long may that relationship continue.

 
At 4:47 AM, Anonymous thalia said...

By the way, how did your mother manage to keep custody of you given what she was going through?

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Vacant Uterus said...

My father is "Daddy" to me, too. You'll both be in my prayers.

 
At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Mary Scarlet said...

Will be praying for him, and for you. Hope everything goes well.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Liz said...

Praying that all goes well for your father.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Blue said...

Oh Sweetie, I hope everything goes smoothly for him and he recovers quickly. You're both in my thoughts.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Since I was 7 I've seen my Dad through numerous bypasses and stent placments...and I'm so grateful he's still around and only an hour away. I am sending all the best thoughts and prayers for your Dad for a sucessful surgery and smooth recovery. I'm sure that you letting him know how much he means to you will help him tremendously. Much love to you and your family during this time.

 
At 5:37 PM, Anonymous pixi said...

I hope the surgery goes well and that your Dad will soon be done with the pain. I'll be thinking of you both.

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger deanna said...

Sending plenty of hope your way......and a real sense of understanding where you're coming from.....I hope all goes well, so that you can continue this new journey of understanding that has begun....

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger zhl said...

Sending best wishes for a quick recovery for your dad. Please keep us updated.

 

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