The children at school. The first load of laundry is the washer. Rusty is at work. The cats have been fed, and the dogs are back barking at nothing.
I am sitting here alone. I am sitting here missing my my dad. It was one year ago today that my dad died.
Lets take a walk down memory lane.
I was 8 years old when my grand mother died. It was my dads mom. I remember the phone ringing and my mom just saying "o.k. I will get a hold of Keith". My mom kept trying to call my dads work but no one would answer the phone. My mom went out to the car and got on the cb and started calling for him.
My dad never came home from work that night. My dads youngest brother had just gotten in from Italy, and all of the children were at the hospital when my grandfather took my grand mother off life support.
At the funeral my dad just stood there with a face of steel. He talked to his sisters and brothers and some of the other family. My father helped to carry the casket to the grave.
I remember watching my father and thinking that he was strong.
Fast forward many years. Rusty was in the shower and the phone rang. On the other end was my mother in law. She called to tell me that my father in law had passed away, and that she had sent the red cross message for Rusty.
Rusty was on the airplane the very next day. I called my dad I just wanted to cry. I felt so bad for Rusty. My dad told me that there is nothing that I can do for Rusty right now. I could be there when he called, I could cry with him, but for the time being I had to get my head back in the game. I still had children to take care of and a house to run.
My dad was there to support me when Rusty went to Iraq. He offer words of wisdom such as suck it up. Life is tough so you need to be tougher. Are you done with your pity party? Good now suck it up and do whatever it is that you need to do.
Then Rusty's mom died. Great. I can't handle this right before Christmas. Once again I callled home. My dad was there to offer my advice. For the most part I took all of it.
Rusty was in a fog, so I did what I had to do. We made the arrangement. Paid to have her cremated, and cleared out her belongs. We decided not to lay her to rest until after Christmas. We did not want the children to remember Christmas as a sad time.
After Christmas was over I had to get back to reality and start planning a double funeral. We were going to lay both of his parents to rest. How in the world do you do a double military funeral?
Once again I called my dad. He told me where to start, and I took it from there.
I called my dad back a few days later and told him on what date we were going to have the funeral, and that I had gotten the flags, and the 21 gun salute was set up. The only thing I could not figure out was .... well there was going to be no one there for Rusty. No family? No friends? just me and the children? So once again my dad said then go make your husband a support system. Suck it up and do it.
I called the guys that he served in Iraq with. I called all of the marines, and I called all of our other friends. I simply said "We are going to lay Rusty's parents to rest and he will have no one there to support him other then me and the children." Everyone showed up.
It was I that carried the urns to the grave site. It was I that next to Rusty and Held his hand the guns went off. It was I that watched him get presented the flag's. It was I. I had no choice but to suck it up and be the rock that Rusty needed.
In June of 2006 my parents came out for Ambers 16 birthday. Sixteen is a magic number in our family. That is the age when you get the family maple leaf passed down to you.
I can still see my dad and I sitting in the airport. I grabbed his hand and put my head on his shoulder and started crying. I just knew that this would be the last time that our children would get to see my dad before he died.
When Rusty had his heart attack I called my parents. My mom answered the phone. I told what had just happened. My dad me on the other end of the phone and knew something was wrong.
I needed help and no one was there to help me. My dad very calmly said to me "you have a husband who is still alive and three children to take care of. Get yourself together. Put the children to bed and go back to the hospital. Figure it out and be strong for everyone." That is what I did. For the next week I juggled trying to be there for the children and trying to be there for my husband. There was no time for tears. Only enough time to be strong.
It was a typical Friday night here. Everyone was out front sitting around the fire. I had come in to grab something when my cell phone rang. I went out back to the smoking room. My mom told me that I need to come home because they did not expect my dad to make it through the weekend. My dad had battled cancer most of his life and a few years before he got a dnr and wanted to stop fighting.
I just sat there and cried. CJ walked out into the back room. he had a big plate of food. CJ just looked at me and asked me what was going on. I told him. I just put my head in CJ's lap and cried.
I then walked out front. Rusty took one look at me and he just knew. Rusty came in and booked a ticked for me. I was off to Chicago.
I was in Chicago for two weeks. My dad was not dead, but he was gone. He had no idea who I was. He was down to about 90 pounds. This was not my dad. This was a shell.
I would go to bed at night and ask God to please take my dad out of this world. I was so sick of seeing him suffer. No pain meds were helping. I so wanted to go find some weed, and roll him a joint. I just wanted my dads pain and suffering to end.
Then I would get up in the morning and I realize that my dad was still here.
I sucked it up and stayed strong for my mom. I went with my mom to go make all of the final arrangements. My dad was going to be cremated. Then I helped my mom gather the strength to fill out the death certificate. Everything was done except for the date of death.
My dad did not die before I had to come home. I arrived in San Diego to find Rusty holding my favorite starbucks, and Ryan holding some flowers. My boys were there for me.
Four days later I sat up straight in the bed. It was 3:30 in the morning. I did not go back to sleep .
My mom called to tell that my dad had passed away at 5:30 a.m. Chicago time. I told her that I knew that.
I felt part of me leave when he died.
So here I am today. I have made it through my year of first. My first Thanksgiving, my first Christmas, my first birthday...... everything without my dad.
I have sucked it up and I have dealt with it.
Part of me wants to sit down and cry. Then I hear my dad say "tonight you will have a house full of marines. You need to suck it up and do what needs to be done."
I do not want to suck it up. I want my dad. I want my rock. I want some child molester to die instead of my dad.
O.K. enough of the pity party. Life moves on, and I have a lot to do, so I better get moving.
I just realized something. My dad has taught me a lesson and that is to do whatever you have to do. Life has thrown a ton of shit my way, but I just climbed out of it and kept going.