Saturday, April 29, 2023

Fifty years


Fifty years ago today, my dad died. How the fuck have 50 years passed? Sometimes it feels like forever, but some part of me still feels like the kid who was taken to the hospital the week before to see him, who flung herself so hard at that beloved man in his shabby blue terry robe that my mom cried out to warn me.

I know it hurt him, understanding after the fact that the cancer had not only damaged his lung but his ribs. I know that hugs for a long time had probably hurt, and also that he wouldn't have traded them for a pain-free existence.

Whenever I was sick, I would tell my mom to keep him away, out of my room. Because I always wanted to be perfect for him. Stupid kid. I was perfect in his eyes.

He sometimes said, when I was sick, that he wished it was him instead of me. I'm glad I was old enough when he died not to have taken that upon myself, to somehow have blamed myself for my ear infections turning into his lung cancer.

A lifelong smoker. An asbestos worker in the shipyards during WWII. A welder. A firefighter in the tin helmets/iron men era, when they called themselves smoke-eaters. 

It's a miracle he lasted as long as he did.

He retired from the fire department around the time that respirators came in. It wasn't the same, and he was getting old - or so I thought, though he was only two years older than I am now when he died.

There's not a day when I don't think about him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you lost your father at such a young age. It's clear that you and he loved each other very much. May his memory continue to be a blessing.