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A Single Tear

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All my life my dad has been my best friend. I remember distinctly one day when I was little, I was sick with the flu and had to stay home from school. Since I was so young, a parent had to stay home with me and my dad took on that job while my mom went to work. I remember him asking me, “What do you want to do today?” I thought about it, and came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to stay in bed all day; I wanted to go to the zoo. And so, my father took me to the zoo that day. We walked around, looked at the animals, and ate ice cream. Unfortunately that trip ended up getting cut short due to my sickness.

That was when I was six, and currently today I am fifteen years old. Just a year ago my father passed away from cancer, and at the time I was only fourteen. When I first heard about his illness 6 months earlier, I didn’t think anything of it, I thought the doctors would make him better, after all that’s they’re job. I didn’t know he was going to die. So, as everyone else spent all of their time with him, I spent mine doing other things that I wanted to do. But his illness kept getting worse, and after a few months he was using a walker. It was at this point that I realized he probably wouldn’t make it to my graduation, wedding, or anything. He was going to die. I cried harder than I have ever before.

Even with the walker he couldn’t move far on his own, so my mother and I would take turns sleeping downstairs with him. One night, when it was my turn, he got up to use the bathroom and I didn’t hear him. I woke up to a loud crash. My eyes popped open and I sprinted into my dining room where my father lay on the floor, shaking. He was having a seizure. I just stood there, gaping, clueless as what to do. My mother came flying down the stairs seconds later asking me what had happened, but I couldn’t speak. I just stood there with tears streaming down my face. This was my fault, and I knew it.

Eventually the seizure stopped. My mother tried to console me by saying that it wasn’t my fault, but I knew it was, and she couldn’t change my mind about that. It was at this point that I realized how fragile he really was, and how easy it was to hurt him, so I withdrew. I stopped watching him at night and I stopped going into the backroom to see him unless I had to. I spent as much time out of the house as I could.

In the next few months, his condition seriously progressed and soon he was in a wheel chair, didn’t want to eat, and could hardly talk. I was still avoiding him as much as possible. He would call out for me, and I would go to him, but it would only be for a few minutes and then I would leave. I knew that the end was coming, but I didn’t want to believe it. So I denied it.

I can remember the day perfectly, it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we were all huddled around his hospital bed that had been placed in our backroom. There was a nurse there with us, but she stayed in the corner to give us time to say goodbye. It was just my sisters, niece, mother, and I, my brother had decided not to come. Everyone kept reassuring my dad that it was okay for him to go and they told him how much they loved him. I don’t even know if he could hear us, but I kept wanting to tell him that it wasn’t okay for him to leave me, that he had to stay, but for my family I said what I was supposed to, even though I wasn’t ready to let him go. As Amazing Grace was playing in the background my father took his last breath.

At that moment I suddenly regretted not taking time to be with him while he was sick. I felt guilty. If I could have gone back in time to change it, I would have in a heartbeat. The hardest part about his death was knowing that he wanted to see me, that he kept asking for me, and I let him down. I deserted him when he needed me and I never really got to say a real goodbye. As they placed the flag over him and carried him out of our house everyone cried, except for me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love him or that I wouldn’t miss him, it was just that, I couldn’t cry. I was sad of course, but the tears just would not fall. I thought something was wrong with me, my father, my best friend, had just died and there I was unable to cry. The funeral passed and yet still no tears came.

On father’s day I received a movie and a letter from him. He had left one for all four kids. They each were personalized and said something we needed to hear. My mom later told me that I was the last letter he wrote because it was the hardest one for him. You would think that these items would make me cry, but I still couldn’t do it and it didn’t make any sense to me. I had cried plenty when he was sick, and I had cried over such stupid things before and after, and now I just couldn’t do it.

Many months later I took a trip with my sister and her sons to the zoo. While we were there we walked around, looked at the animals, and ate ice cream. All of a sudden the memories of my father and I at the zoo when I was little flooded back to me. It was like déjà vu and I was six years old all over again. Then it finally came, a single tear shed for my father.





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pinksage33 said...
Aug. 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm
Thats so saaaaad. Gr8 story though.
 
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