I received an e-mail yesterday, that completely broke my heart all the while opening my eyes to a reality I was refusing to face. Death. Clearly, being twenty-one years old, I know that death is an unavoidable part of the life cycle, taking from us that of which we care most - our loved ones. The e-mail I received referred to the dash between a birth date and death date on a tombstone...that this dash was our life lived between those dates, and then went on to point out how important it is to live your life, love your life - love the ones around you, let grudges go.
I believe I have the world record for holding a grudge. From the time of being a child, most likely around the age of 7 or 8, I formed a grudge against one of the people I truly love the most...my dad. Although still young, the disease of alcoholism consumed him, slowly trying to corrupt my happiness as well. It succeeded on numerous occassions. I've written posts in the past, describing the anger and hurt I have held inside for all of these, due to the disease my father battles with each and every day...but I don't believe I've ever written about how amazing a man my dad really is.
He is smart - Dad can give you a logical, composed answer for nearly any question you shoot at him. It still amazes me how much information he retains; he is like a sponge, just soaking it up. I used to think I was so clever, thinking up "complicated" math equations for him to solve. Within seconds I had the correct answer I had spent so much time calculatin on paper, where as he simply pulled it out of his brain.
He is strong - both physically and emotionally, I will forever depend on my Dad for his strength. Not only is he handy for when that stubborn jar refuses to open...he is my personal kleenex box. Many of his shirts have seen the storm my tears create, yet he simply would sit there and hug me. The first time one of my loved ones passed away, I felt as though my world was ending - how could it be? As I layed in bed, soaking my pillow case with snot and tears, Dad came in, sat on the floor next to the bed and explained with patience the why's, and what he believed happened after death. He stayed with me until I fell asleep, and was right there when I woke up and realized it was all still true. To this day, after 21 years, he is still there. Solid as ever, patient as always.
He is thoughtful - I could have been the cruelest bitch to him, and if he thought I would enjoy something, needed comforting, my favorite snack would then be in the fridge...my car would be fixed...I would have a new toy. Not simply with me though - My father takes care of everybody. He turns away no favor asked, forgets no favor done for him. His heart, is amazingly large, and I completely take advantage.
I have been angry and hurt - I still am angry and hurt. There are things my father says, does, thinks...that I will always be bewildered by. I still become enraged over his drinking, and I don't appreciate the way he handles situations, or speaks to my mother. Regardless of the negativity, I love him with every ounce of me. The e-mail I previously referred to, had been from him, and it broke my heart to think...I don't tell him that I love him even close to how much I really do. If he were to die tomorrow...and that thought immediately brings an abundance of tears to well in my eyes...would he know that I cherish him? Would he know that I would be lost with out him? I fear everyday of losing him. My dad's addictive personality has given him two of the worst bad habbits, and my mind is plagued with the thought that they might be what kills him.
I put on a strong front, and I will say my dad and I don't have a close relationship due to his drinking...and that is the truth. We're not as close as I wish we could be. Putting that aside, I look up to my father. I depend on his presence to re-assure myself that I'm safe, that everything is going to be o.k. The forward he sent everyone as a "in case you hadn't though about it", not only made me think, but opened my eyes to the fact that life is too short, and the people surrounding me are too precious.
I love you, Dad...just in case you didn't know.