Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

When I think of my Dad, so many things come to my mind. His infectious laugh, his beautiful smile, his Crystal clear blue eyes. His wild sense of humor. His love of classic cars. I admire my Dad most for how hard working he was. Even after working 12 hour days in a sweltering factory he would come home to yard work, car repairs, or some other task that kept him busy. Yes, my Dad was always busy fixing or improving something. My Dad could build a house from scrap wood, or fix just about anything you thought had lost all hope. Today I can see my Dads sweet smile engraved in my mind....

My Dad didn't smile too often, but when he did it lit up my life. Even when I was very young, I was well aware of the hard life my Dad lived as a child. Family income was a major issue for his family back then in the early 50's, and my Dad spoke often of the hard times without heat, food or running water. (Today I thank my Dad for sharing these stories, for they taught me empathy and understanding from a very young age) Yet the hardest part of my Dads childhood was the fact that his mother was a very unpredictable, hot tempered person who favored her eldest children, basically leaving my Dad to feel like an outcast in his own home. I often felt very sad for my Dad, knowing the abuse he was inflicted as a child at the hands of his own mother. I always knew my Dad was the way he was (quiet, hot tempered, non-social, strict, and hardened) because of the life he had lived. Sad, but true. When I think of my Dad even today my heart hurts for what he endured as a child, and I always wish he had the childhood everyone deserves....

And yet my Dad was still an amazing Father, despite it all. His love for his children was a blessing that I cherish to this day.

I remember when my Dad took just ME fishing one early summer morning. I must have only been about 4 at the time. I adored the time I had alone with him. I caught a HUGE trout and I was SO proud....but years later come to find out, that Trout wasn't SO big after all!

I remember when I was about 8 or so and my Dad took over the household duties because my Mom had surgery. I thought it was SO weird to go grocery shopping with a Dad!

I remember when I won a 12 speed bike and it was WAY too big for me, but my Dad encouraged me to ride it anyway. And then he bought us kids all new bikes!

I remember when my Dad surprised us with a new fish aquarium. I was ALWAYS begging for pets of any kind (sound like Maddison?)

I remember being excited for Sunday mornings because Dad would run out to buy a Newspaper and take me with him to get a treat.

I remember being his yard work buddy.

My Dad liked to pretend he hated Christmas.....but we all know he loved it! He was a whole new person every Christmas morning!

I used to love helping my Dad tend to his garden, and still to this day I think of him every time I eat cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe and cucumbers. His were the BEST!

There are so many good memories, so many things my Dad taught me. I think its easier said in poetry....


You may have thought I didn't see,
Or that I hadn't heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.
Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we'd grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It's written on my heart.
Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be
The person I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.
I've grown up with your values,
And I'm very glad I did;
So here's to you,
from forever grateful, ME.

Today I wish I could remember my Dad on Fathers Day without thinking about Diabetes, but I can't.

As a child I remember my Dad waking up often at night from low blood sugars. I had no idea what that was all about, but I remember sometimes things got scary. I remember my Dad lecturing me often about my eating habits (especially as a teen) and I had no idea why. I remember him stressing the importance of Meat, "starch" and vegetables at every meal, and I remember him always having it portioned just right. I remember how we never took vacations or went out to eat because my Dad was on a strict eating schedule. Timing was everything. I remember being annoyed by that. And today I feel guilty for feeling that way! If I only knew! I remember the first time we did go out for dinner, and Dad ended up popping glucose tablets and cussing the whole time while we waited for our table. I didnt understand why. I didnt understand what the big deal was. I wish I knew back then, and I wish I understood. I wish my Dad wasn't alone through it all.

I remember when I was about 9 and my Dad allowed me to have a glucose tablet. He told me he hoped I never needed them. Ironic ey?

I remember every time I heard my Mom say that my Dad was vomiting, we learned quickly that meant a hospital stay. I remember fearing every time my Dad went into the hospital, thinking he wouldn't be coming home. I remember how empty the house felt while Dad was away....

As an adult working in health care I learned more about Diabetes. I thought I knew what it was all about. I thought I understood.

And then I was diagnosed. And it all made sense. My heart hurt even more for the life he had been living. And then, Maddison was diagnosed. And my world was broken.

The last 10 years of my Dads life was incredibly depressing. He suffered every complication Diabetes is known to inflict. It isnt anything that can just be forgotten, even on Fathers Day when Im supposed to be remembering the good times and the man I love as my Father. Diabetes invades my thoughts when I think of him. He suffered. Alot. For years.

When I think of my Dad, I think of Diabetes. I wish it weren't so. I wish my Dad could have lived well with his disease as Maddison and I do every single day.....but it just wasn't the same back then. Technology, education and newer insulins and insulin pumps are a blessing. A blessing that I know my Dad can look down on and appreciate for us. My Dad once told me "I hope that pump isnt the cure they keep talking about" to which I replied, "it helps alot, but it isn't a cure at all!"

And then, we both just smiled. That was a moment I will never forget, it was the moment my Dad finally felt someone understood the life he had been living. To be able to share the feeling of unity with him before he died, is priceless.

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad, I carry you with me always.


Hallie said...

Oh Kelly. I'm going to have to come back and finish reading because I'm crying tok hard now. So if I have typos, forgive me. The love for your Dad is so real. I can feel it. And I know you miss him terribly. Big hugs to you. He sounds like an amazing Dad and such a fighter. Love you, girl!

Denise aka 'Mom of Bean' said...

Such a sweet tribute. Memories are an amazing thing...such a blessing to have so many!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet face your Dad had, very soulful eyes. I am so sorry he suffered so much as a child and then later with diabetes. I hope he did not have diabetes as a child; because a mother's neglect could be part of the reason he had complications. These children need to be nurtured so carefully. I'm sure the wonderful family he had later in life made up for the fact he did not have a happy childhood. And that you brought him much joy in life. Know that he is watching over you still; as a guardian angel.