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Where did you go Daddy?
Author's note: I bottled up my feelings for years until they just came flooding out, and this is my way of coping. This is for you daddy, I will always be your little butterfly.
My heart is hurting. What is this feeling? Salty water drops are pouring out of my eyes like a faucet that won't shut off because someone broke it, that's me. I'm broken. Images of memories are rolling past my mind like a collage of anguish and throbbing. There teasing me. Dad? Come back! He's fading away... Where is he? He's gone, Dad? He's gone. Does that word still exist in my life anymore? Dad...
The hospital is cold. Is it always this lifeless? Its almost like a prison, there's old men sitting in their wheelchairs outside there room, I wander what their thinking, "When will I get out of here,"
"So this is what the end feels like."
Some I predict are thinking absolutely nothing. I have almost become pro at reading people's feelings, but I have hope when I see the one smiling old man all alone with tubes up his nostrils' and machines seem to be crowding around him making all kinds of beeping noises, but it doesn't phase him. Where's the peaceful silence everyone promises? He reminds me of Morrie Schwartz from "Tuesdays with Morrie," except this wasn't a Tuesday.
“You can come in now,” the lady says. I am very confused, I am staring at this door not knowing what to do, there’s a button, and do I press it? I press it anyways, what’s the worst that could happen I am already at the edge of darkness. The red, greasy button makes my hands feel dirty and immediately makes a loud, obnoxious ‘beep’ noise when I push it and the same lady says,
“Yes I said come in!”
She unlocks the door for us, our family of five crowds through the door,
“Only two people,” the annoying lady says.
I go in with my mom and while she asks for her name I tune her out, I already do not like her attitude, and I think how could she act like this when my father is in there dying? My question never gets answered. My eyes almost constantly turn to the pink flowers on the counter, they are for my daddy. I wish I could go back in time and show my daddy these, whenever he said’ “I don’t have any friends.”
He did. These flowers, ill never forget these flowers. They seemed to be the ONLY flowers that had a sweet smell, a smell that wasn’t combined with the smell of death. They were pink, and probably had more green leaves to it then the flower but I got lost in them. The name of the flowers didn’t matter to me, who they were from, it didn’t matter. I got lost in the smell of life. I immediately get sucked back into the world of darkness when I get tapped on my shoulder and told it was time to go see him.
Was I ready? I never had time to answer that either as I was already walking inside the door. It was like a door to a portal of a completely horrible world. Beeping noises, circuits, plugs, the noise of the plastic sheets being crumbled when I lean on it annoys my ears. It smelled of day old pee, and nothingness. I smile anyways, I look at my precious daddy who was once so much stronger then me, he now had the bones of a child, and a scruffily beard that poked me when I kissed him. He feels cold and hard when my soft lips touch his dry chapped ones. He isn’t talking, but he is awake. I rant about how much I love him but my words slur so much from my tears and my short breaths that make me sound like I am choking. He mouths the words,
“I love you.”
Where is his voice his sweet serene voice but yet a weird masculine voice, I think he has one of those celebrity voices that reminds me of Axl Rose. There is a tube down his throat. Imagine. Not being able to speak, eat foods that make your tastes buds explode, no more ice cream, no more water, the drink you never realize you like until you don’t have it anymore, and never being able to say the words I love you. We have to hand feed him water, I never do it, it hurts too much-. I watch my mom as she dips an overly sized, sponge-like, pink queue-tip inside a plastic cup and move it in a circular motion inside my daddies mouth, his mouth is black inside. I wander from what, and remember the same process being done with my grandma Scering a couple years back. Is this what the end is? Being cut from all independency, and not even being able to go to the bathroom in a toilet or speak for yourself.
The ‘speaking’ becomes an issue, I don’t know what he wants. He wants some water? No! Some ice cubes. I am clueless, I do not know what else to do except for cry. We try to brainstorm ideas to understand him not by hearing him. We try having him write it down, but his weak hands can’t seem to make up a letter. This is so hard. What have I gotten myself into. He is so frustrated and I just want to know what he wants! Oh god! Just tell me what he wants. So we move on and we do not give up. We make up a card game with five cards and each card means something different but explaining this idea even gets me confused. So we do not move on, we give up. Time is running out, and then he says,
“Just shoot me.”
Why is it that that is the one thing we can make out. We couldn’t hear his I love you’s, his I miss you’s but his ‘Just shoot me.’ It is so clear but yet I wish it wasn’t as clear. My daddy, my best friend, my mentor, my role model, he is suffering and he is so young. Is this how it is? Being at the end… The end….
We are about to leave for the day now, and I walk past the flowers and want to take them with me. The annoying lady, whose name I refuse to ever hear, demands me to leave them be and says I can not take them.
“But they are my fathers,” I reply. “I have a right.”
She nods her head, no, and takes them from my hands. I can feel the darkness spread around the life of the flowers by her one touch. Doctors. They worry about flowers when my father is dying on a crunchy bead. What kind of hospital is this, it reminds me of a prison, never allowing happiness to their patients.
“He can only have one popsicle a day.”
“Don’t do this and don’t do that.”
So I leave, leave the prison-like door and run past the ugly stained couch that smells like rotten cheese and impatient people. I get outside and smell the air and my nostrils’ are free from the overbearing smell of hospitals. I am suddenly surrounded by eyes, eyes watching me, following me, the eyes have faces and they say,
“I am so sorry,” when my family and I walk past. They feel as if they NEED to say something. I would have been better off if they didn’t. One of them asked me if I needed a hug, yes I did, from my father. Not from the stranger who needed to mind his own business, his breathe reeked of cigarettes and vodka. What is with the word sorry? The pity makes me feel exposed to all of human nature. My mom holds my 17 year old sister, Ashley, while they cry together and talk about my daddy. I do not want to be talked to or touched. I do not know how I feel or what I should do. I walk a couple feet behind them and reject there invitation to join them. That car ride was the most awkward car ride I have ever been in and there wasn’t any way out of it.
That night I go to bed making up an alternate life where my dad pops up from the hospital bed and says,
“Got you! Your just been pranked!” The T.V producers would pop out smiling and laughing and life would be perfect again. The life I make up always seems to beat the one that is really happening. My life.. Why mine?
The phone rings. I know what this is, it’s the scene in the movie that turns to slow motion while everybody cries. I feared this moment, in my alternate universe this would never happen. Instead it would be a phone call saying a miracle happened! Don’t we all want things in life that we don’t get? I wander if this would ever happen if Adam and Eve never ate that apple...
It is May 25, 2008. My daddy is in pain, and he isn’t going to make it. His kidneys are failing and now his livers are too, he has nothing left to keep him alive except machines. Those machines I oppose of so much, the many noises they make, and when the constant same beeping noises suddenly change it fools everyone into some cardiac arrest. But it is time, we have to pull the plug.
‘Pulling the plug…’ Can they make it any worse sounding then that? I feel as if I am giving up on him, but it’s for the best, right? I’m so shocked right now, I can’t breathe. I want to go with my mom to say a final goodbye to my dad, but she says no. I really wish I could’ve gone, to whisper in his ears ‘I love you.’ My mom is right in some sense though, there is just something about seeing a person’s life get drained away right before your eyes, that just melts your soul.
All I think about is the movie, Monkey Bone when they show the character, Stew’s body just being deflated when they pull the plug and all that is left is his deflated skin. Nothing else. Surely that is not how it happens, but the thought sends a chill down my spine. It’s final. He is gone. Gone? No, remember Candra this is a dream! Wake up. WAKE UP!!! I am awake, awake in a nightmare.
Everyone reacts differently to death, but they are reactions you can never forget. It is like little bugs implanting themselves comfortably into your brain and they watch you suffer. They find it amusing, these bugs, I can tell, and they did not like me one bit.
“What’s your problem,” my sister says, “Did you even love him at all?”
I stand there on the kitchen floor almost as if my life is a story and the writer decides to change that part. That never happened. The only thing I seem to think of is to run away, I run away from my worries and my feelings and hide in my bathroom. The tile is cold and I think of my daddy’s warm rough hands picking me up and telling me,
“It is alright my darling butterfly, I am here now.”
I sat there visioning that moment until I realized that it is never going to happen again. The last time he held me will be the last time and the last time he told me he loved me will be the last time. For the first time since my dad died. I cried. What man will I love now when the only man I needed to love was my dad?
I feel half gone, like these bugs attacked my flesh and took whatever happiness was left in me. I couldn’t cry. How could I, I wish my sisters could understand me, but its like I am screaming out my problems right in front of their faces and their just so lost in reality that they chose to block it out. They won’t hear me, and my life feels like an utter nightmare. Isn’t weird how fast life works? Well I’m not laughing.
The sounds of crying never seem to end, its wheeling around my head, in my eardrum and out the other. It won’t stop! Candra cry! I want to cry but nothing comes out. How can something as simple as death change a person’s life like this? Well ill tell you what, it is not the beautiful, peaceful, and heavenly death the movies talk about. It is emptiness and a Christmas without love…
My sympathy goes towards my mother. I know she feels like she will die alone now. I get mad at her when she doesn’t let me go to my friends house, how selfish is that! She just lost her husband, her whole life, and I get mad over a friend who probably won’t be my friend in a year from now. How would I react, if I lost the love of my life… and your last actual conversation was a fight? Love hurts, and that is true, and life is unpredictable. You only see one puzzle piece at a time, and in the end you can either love your puzzle or hate it. It’s a love/hate world. You can only learn from it, but there is nothing stopping you from changing your puzzle. Well, this puzzle, it's already a bad one, and no one wants to finish a bad puzzle.
I lost a friend today daddy. I cried today daddy. I miss you today daddy.
Who's to tell me I don't need guys in my life? Who's going to tell me they'll shoot the guy who broke my heart? Who's gonna scare him off when he tries to say sorry? Who's going to explain why guys are stupid? Who's going to tell me that the only guy I need in my life is him? I don't know. Come find me when you find out. I feel lost. Whenever I get hurt I immediately turn to my daddy. What hurts me is not the drama, not the guy who left me, the friend who hurt me, but my daddy who isn't there to heal my heart when it breaks. I can't hear him ramble on about how there's other fish in the sea, or you have me, and that's the only friend you need. Where's my friend now? I love how after his speech and my tears he would blast some kind of rock music and all of a sudden everything that was hurting me would disappear and none of it would matter anymore. None of it mattered with him. Just me and my daddy. I wander what he would think of my life today, and if he would be disappointed. Disappointed in the failed friendships iv'e had, the guys iv'e took back after their first sorry, my lack in trust in friends. Disappointed in how iv'e stopped listening to him. Well I can't hear his voice. It disappeared, not able to teach me right and wrong. Did you know that I miss your voice daddy? Are my ears broken? Because I can't hear you anymore? I miss your laugh. Your laugh that made me laugh when I was sad.
I pity those friends who make fun of me after a fight, knowing what I go through and deciding to add more pain to my empty heart. I pity them because I care not for their words, but for the lack of my fathers. One of their I hate you's, makes me miss one of my dad's I love you's. One of their don't talk to me anymore, makes me miss one of my dad's I miss you's.
Everything builds up. God should have created me with a bigger heart because this one is so fragile. I start to wander if there is anyone left who can love me like my father. I love my father. He had the biggest heart, none could compare. It's really funny because my dad thought he didn't have any friends. I wish he could have been there. At his funeral. I hate funerals. Everyone was crying, something he would not have liked, but it was filled with love. They were all there for him. I think he knew he had friends, but I think he was trying to teach me that you don't need them, because in the end the only ones who care for you are the ones who love you. My daddy taught me a lot of things, but this was the most important one. My daddy was strong. He made me strong.
You grow up a lot within the years. First you want to run away. Of course you may pack your bags, get on your bike your daddy taught you to ride, but never get as far as the gate. That gate that guards you from the real world. Then you go to your daddy. His warm hands make you feel safe and protected, in a better way then a gate does. A gate cant hug you in tight and kiss your forehead, and call you his butterfly. The gate stays, it can't die, or decay. Where do you go when you have neither? My house has no gate. Well, you don't go any where. You stay. Stay where you are and breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Ill never be alone. No matter where I am my daddy will be with me. There's times where I cry for hours and hours again on the cold tile floor in my bathroom, alone. Only the sound of my tears running down my soft cold cheeks. My tears are warm. I feel you with me. I wish you were here to wipe my tears, and to listen to my pathetic story of how I lost a friend, so I do. I tell you. Your not here, but I know your listening. It helps, talking to you. You cant hug me, you can't kiss me, you can't tell me its okay, but you can listen. In that moment I feel like my life isn't worthless, I feel like I have something to live for, and when its my turn and i'm old and tired of pain, i'll have to give in, and i'll meet you in heaven. The first thing i'll do daddy, is tell you I love you. Then ill bore your ears with my many words, you'll tell me it's all okay, and well sing some tunes. Do they have music in heaven?
Tomorrow is New Years. No. Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. The day everyone starts over is the day I realize I missed yet another year of my dad's life. We don't celebrate it anymore. How could we? If we made cake, who would eat it and actually feel good about themselves. I suppose this day will be another quiet one. Awkward walks past each other. Maybe one will try and start a conversation, who will finish it? Everyone will have their own area where they go to just be alone, walk precisely five feet away from their area, don't look at them. I wander if mine will be the bathroom. I don't have an area. My mom will have her usual spot in the living room. Ashley will take over our room. Jamie and Jacie will be gone. I will be everywhere. Each place has its own memory, we haven't had any memories of him at this house, but it reminds me of past ones. Our pool reminds me of our old one we used to have, except this one is now underground, our old pool, it would jiggle if anyone moved too quickly, and don't jump into the pool like a sumo wrestler with your shoes on because it is bound to break and spill over. No more pool, but the thought makes me laugh. Our dry dirt, that lacks of plants, reminds me of his obsession with plants. It makes me wander how our house would look if he was alive. Filled with many different colors, flowers, plants, trees, failed plantings, and lemon trees I suppose. I miss lemons. His salty lemon water. I don't have anyone to drink that with, now everyone thinks i'm crazy for putting lemon and a bout a pound of salt into some ice water. Thanks dad. You taught me well.
"Heart attack in a bottle," you would say.
Well, its a heart attack i'm willing to take. I think the good open doors will be my spot this year. Hey daddy, did you know Freckles died last year? I found him. Old age I suppose. I cried, and thought of you. I remember when you dedicated three days of your life to build a cage for Freckles, you were so proud of your cage. We had to get a new cage. I felt like I was throwing a piece of you away and getting a smaller, improved, new you. I miss Freckles. I remember when Ashley, you and I, were all in mom's room with Freckles and you were on the bed and we were watching Lost, and you didn't want Freckles near you because you didn't want his biting you. Ashley and I found it hilarious when he did bite you when you put your leg down, but you didn't, but I know you were laughing so hard on the inside. When Freckles died, I felt like I have no connection left with you at all. Nothing is left of you, except the picture of your signature move on my cork board above my head. I wake up and look at you, and miss you. I go to sleep, close my eyes and miss you.
My mom kept your wallet, your small leather wallet that always seemed to pop out with 'stuff' you 'needed.' Its pretty empty now.It has two dollars in it. I always feel like one day ill look inside it and the two dollars will be gone like you spent it on something, like lemons. They remain there everyday. Never to be moved. Never to buy something with. I feel your hands. Your hands taking our your wallet and using it like you would do in any minute of your normal day, or in my alternate universe, where I ask for money for candy and you give it to me. The leather is worn down.
When I go in my mom's room I catch myself wiping the dust off your canteen of ashes. Its not the same. My daddy in a box, is like a butterfly with no wings. It feels wrong, like your not in there, just trapped. Your soul is free. Open on a stand waiting for when one of us needs you and then you come.
I wear your necklace every day daddy. When I wear it someone always stops me and asks me what happened. Sometimes I tell then your story, sometimes I don't. Do they really want to know? Those people I do tell, they say their sorry, and some run off quick, stressing not knowing exactly what to say. Some stay and tell me their usual sorry, and how they know how I feel. They don't. They may know how they feel, but they don't know how I feel, and no body does except me. That's why I love my best friend Bailey, she doesn't tell me she is sorry because she knows I don't like it, she tells me she doesn't know how I feel but that she will always be here for me when I feel like explaining it. She loves you, and she hasn't even met you!
Tts almost time to go to Bailey's house, man I wish you could meet her, you would love her! I'll go to her house and she'll take my mind off you, fill my heart with laughs and funny pictures, but I still go to sleep thinking of you. Everything catches up. In my mind, it never stops.
Tomorrow is the start of a 'New Year,' but it's your birthday, your birthday that no one celebrates, and i'm gonna buy a bucket of ice cream, add a splash of milk, and it won't be the same, it won't taste the same, I won't want it, but it will feel right. Tomorrow is your birthday and the day after is my 'New Years.' Mine. Not the whole worlds to share, mine. My new years will forever be January second. Why is your birthday on New Years? No. Why is New Years on your birthday. The day of your life. Your birth, your creation. I hate birthdays. Your birthday will be silent. Everyone will have their own spot, and when you come down to visit. I'll be outside.
Dreams can kill. Kill your spirit. Your hopes. They leave you with nothing.
Last night I dreamed of you. I dreamed that I got three wishes. My first wish was for you to come back, and you did. We fought for you, for your attention. I hated it. Why was it a competition if you were here forever now? In the dream my sisters made me feel worthless and unworthy of your love. I was nothing. Fighting. Yelling. Crying. My ears hurt, and my eyes were tired.
Why did my perfect dream become a nightmare? It wasn't real that's why and it never could be. I could never have you in my life again, I could never tell you I love you again, smell you again, feel your warm hugs again, it was over, but yet my perfect dream, wasn't so perfect after all.
The only perfect thing about it was that I saw you again, for the first time in three years I really saw you. Your shaggy brown hair lay straggling across your soft precious face. Your big beautiful blue eyes looked into mine, and your scratchy hands held me once again. You ran to my mother and told you you loved her, you ran to her and kissed her and it was like everything that happened in the past never actually happened, and that this dream was real life and the past was really a dream. Could you imagine?
In that moment, everything that happened after, the yelling, the fighting, the crying, none of it mattered. I got to see you! I got to see my daddy, and God do I miss you.. I could say it a million times and ways and I would never get tired of those three words.
I miss you.
Tu me manques.
Te echo de menos.
If I knew more languages I wouldn't stop there.
You knew I missed you, in the dream you knew, and before I was about to wake up, your beautiful blue eyes got sad, and when I asked what was wrong, I woke up before the words came out of your mouth.
What were you going to tell me daddy?
Don't leave me now, don't leave me period, and if I go to sleep again will you come back? No.