Time seems to go on and on and before I know it, 2 plus months have passed and I haven't updated my blog. Urgh.
I have actually been meaning to write this post for awhile, I just didn't know how to do it. A few days ago marked the four year "Angelversary" of my dad's passing. I have thought alot about his life in the last week, and while I was sad he isn't here any longer, I can honestly say that I am finally at peace with the fact that he isn't here. It's been a very long, hard road, but I am there.
Life wasn't always rosy with my dad. Rarely, in fact. My dad was Bi-Polar/Manic Depressive, and because of that, there were a lot of times that we were living in hell because of it. He was also a recovering alcoholic, and was dealing with personal issues from his own childhood that he was never able to be at peace with. I can remember periods where my dad would just sit in the dark and stare at the wall, not saying anything. It was like he couldn't see you, or hear you or anything.
When he was manic he could be very abusive. Before his diagnosis in 1991, he was physically abusive. Not to me or my sister, but that is because my mother wouldn't let him. So, he would beat her. But as anyone that has suffered through any type of abuse, the mental, emotional, and verbal abuse is just as damaging, if not more so, than physical abuse. Bruises can fade, but words, once spoken, can't be taken back. The feelings of inadequacy, of not being good enough, are remembered. The stinging, biting, hateful words, coming from someone you love, can hurt just as much now as they did when they were first spoken.
However, in spit of all that, we had lots of good times too. When I was growing up we did not have very much money. I can remember many times my mother not eating a meal because there wasn't enough food. So, needless to say, there simply wasn't money for things that a lot of kids take for granted. Our sled was a plastic trash bag...usually the same plastic trash bags that Santa had delivered a few presents and a meal and sometimes a tree in a few days before Christmas. I can remember my dad pulling my sister and I around in the yard on that plastic trash bag through the snow for what seemed like hours. I can remember my dad showing me how to take care of our horse that we had when I was older. For my 16th birthday, and my sister's 13th (our birthday's were ten days apart) our parents had gotten us a horse. He was a colt, just tiny. He and his mom and other horses had been rounded up on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation about 30 miles away from our house and were being sold to the glue factory. Atreyu was too little, but if someone didn't buy him he would be taken too. So, for $50, we got a horse. We had to go out and bottle feed him several times a day. My dad loved horses. LOVED them. But it was he who taught me how to bridle him, how to use the curry comb, how to pick his hooves. How to hold my hand out flat and straight when giving him grain. My sister lost interest in him pretty quick, so if it wasn't my dad taking care of Atreyu it was me. So, I learned how to go hunt him down in the pastures when it was time for grain, how to clean out his stall, how to fork in fresh hay. My dad taught me all of that.
My dad also taught me how to change my oil, check all the fluids in my car, change a tire. He taught me how to defend myself from being attacked, how to mow the lawn, how to milk a cow. He taught me alot...there was a lot of good times. There was a lot of bad times too. It definitely wasn't all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. But he was my dad. He didn't have to be, but he wanted to be.
He wasn't my biological dad. That man, who I refer to as "the sperm donor" :), didn't WANT to be our dad. He didn't want us. So, when he didn't want us, the man I refer to as my dad DID want us. Even with all the crap he went through as a kid and everything, HE STILL WANTED US. He was the one there when I graduated eighth grade, filming it with a video camera the size of small microwave. He was the one there when I graduated high school, beaming from ear to ear. He was there when I got married, looking uncomfortable but so handsome in his dress clothes. He is the one my kids know as "Papo". He is the one that "threatened" Randon if he didn't treat me right. He was the one that was so excited that he had a grandson, the first, when Nolen was born. He was the one who's funeral I had to plan, who's casket I picked out, who was buried with full military honors in the veteran's section of the cemetary in my hometown. He is the one who's voice I would give anything, ANYTHING, just to hear one more time. Who's clothes I would cry into because they smelled like him, and when they didn't smell like him anymore cried harder. It was his name I took, not because I HAD to, but because I WANTED to. When I think of the word "Dad", it's him I think of. He was my dad. Mine and my sister's. He was OURS, and we were HIS.
I still, and always will, miss him terribly. When my mom passes away, I will have just as hard of a time, if not harder. (Please Lord, not soon. I still need her..) But, things HAVE gotten easier. They say that time heals all wounds, and it does. If not 100% healed, then certainly bearable. All I could do for weeks after my dad passed away was lay in bed. I was barely functioning. And for a good year and a half to two years after, there were still days that the grief was so debilitating that all I could do was lay in bed and cry. And cry and cry and cry. I had to go to counseling to learn to deal with the fact that my dad was no longer here.
I am so grateful that I know the things I do, that I believe the way I do. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of eternal families. Because of that, I KNOW that I will see my dad again someday. I KNOW that we will all live together as a family again someday. And I also know, that when the day comes, that there will be much joy and rejoicing, not only between my dad and I, but all those other family members that I love and miss so much....my grandfather, who died in a car accident with my 13 year old cousin when Nolen was two months old. My grandmother, who died suddenly when I was 7 months pregnant with Annie. And yes, my biological father will be there too. And I know that we will "fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;" (Moses7:63)