Sunday, December 11, 2005 dad (this is a long post)


noun (plural fa·thers)


1. man who is parent: a man who is the parent of a human being, or a male animal that has produced offspring
been like a father to me

2. man acting as parent: a man who brings up and looks after a child as if he were its father

3. man who is ancestor: a man who is an ancestor, especially the founder of a family or people
the land of our fathers and mothers

4. man who is founder: a man who establishes, founds, or originates something
the father of modern linguistics

5. prototype: something that is a prototype or original version of something else

6. man who is leader: a man who is a community or civic leader
the town fathers

verb (past and past participle fa·thered, present participle fa·ther·ing, 3rd person present singular fa·thers)


1. transitive verb become father of offspring: to cause a woman or female animal to produce offspring

2. transitive and intransitive verb be like father to somebody: to act as a father to somebody, especially by giving advice, comfort, and protection

3. transitive verb found something: to establish, found, or originate something
father a plan

I often wondered as a child if evryone had a father out there like mine or were my sister and I the only "lucky ones". I felt compelled the other day to write about my Dad after seeing him in the nursing home. I want to be able to post in here about this wonderful man that taught me so much about life and guided me and protected me............However, if I did that, it wouldn't be about my would be a fairytale. Out of pure curiousity I looked up the definition of father (as you read or scrolled past to get to this post) and highlighted in red, the most critical part in my mind. As I was growning up I lived with this man that was the father in our house. (yes he's my biological father) As far back as I can remember ( which is very far) he was a loud man. Always yelling at someone. Sometimes yelled just to see if someone would run to him to see what was the matter. As usual here, I try to defend people that do wrong to others by mentioning they had a horrible past themselves (which he did). I'm sure that back in the 1920's and 30's and 40's growing up was mighty difficult espescially if there were rumors that your own father was connected to the mob somehow and that after your parents get their divorce and neither parent gets custody of the 2 kids and said kids are seperated and never mentioned again to the other sibling; that that would be tough in itself to live with. Having to be raised by a wicked grandmother most likely doesn't help one's self esteem either. Now that the defense is over...I also feel that in no way gives someone the "ok" to be an asshole and mistreat everyone in your household.....Father or not. I'm on the firm believe that God wants us parents (and God knows I have fallen short of this) to Father in his image. what we had to live with>>>>>>>................................

I was supposed to be a left handed person. I used to grab everything from my spoons to eat with to crayons to color with..with my left hand. My Mother is left handed. Dad would have no part in me becoming left handed. I'm thankful that I have no memory of what is to follow. I've been told this account by my sister and my mother. Dad used to smack my left hand and put things in my right so that I would use the appropriate hand. He went so far as to tie my left hand to the highchair to force me to use my right. Would you ever do that to your child??
I was always and still am to a degree, a clutsy person. I'm sure as a little kid I did alot of dumb stuff because of that....(dropping things, knocking things over...etc). Dad would always yell at me. "Stop being so scatterbrained!!" I grew up thinking that's how I truely was since I heard that phrase so much. Dad did most of the yelling and name calling. He hit me once or twice but it never hurt and I even recall laughing later in my room because compared to mom's hits, his were nothing.
My dad always smelled like the gas station where he worked. Back then the service station guys actually came out and pumped your gas and checked under the hood for you. I grew up smelling the greasy oil smell on him. Dad wasn't a bad man 100% of the time. I have memories of laying on the couch with him watching tv. A mild moment for him. Dad used to take us on vacations. I loved getting away from the house and neighborhood. I used to pretend we were on great adventures when we were away. I used to think we were very far from home. Naturally now I know how close to home we were most of the time, but to a kid you have no clue. Some of my favorite vacations were when we went camping. (my sister has her own versions of our trips and I think it's because she was always the oldest and "knew more" or that I just shut stuff out). I loved camping. The Blue Ridge Mountains vacation were awesome. I hated camping at a place called "Burroak" ( I think that's how it's spelled). It was on a hillside and it rained and our tents slid down the hill and dad was yelling at mom for being in the boat on the lake and oh man it was a disaster. Sure dad was always yelling at us and going to the grocery store was living hell. He would actually stop and look around to make sure he had an audience then start bitching about tons of shit knowing everyone heard him. Oh how I hated grocery day.
The thing I hated most about my dad was his constant beating on my mom. Mom was a mean disciplinarian and oh man she would hit you with whatever was in her hands....but my dad would punch her with his fists all the time. She was just this little 4' 10" woman and she never faught him back. She had bruises on her all the time. He only ever hit her inside our house that I can ever recall. It was yelling at her and us and the belittling everywhere we went he did outside the home. We used to have a marble top kitchen table and during one of numerous arguements he shoved that heavy kitchen table as hard as he could pinning my mom against the wall. She had huge bruises across her stomach for a long time. Stuff like this and more than likely more than I can remember went on endlessly throughout my entire childhood. I literaly hated my dad. I used to stay away from the house to avoid him as I got older. I remember staying across the street at the neighbors house for a week at a time in the summer.
The one time I put an end to the abuse he used to dish out was when I was about 13. He started punching my mom and I jumped on his back and started beating on him. I yelled at him and told him I was tired of him always beating her. That if he ever felt the need to hit someone again it would be me and not her. Thinking back on this now it's amazing that I defended her like that. Mom was abusive in her own right to us girls. But I've always had a closeness with her. I always felt that she was an underdog of sorts with the lack of education she had and the way my dad always treated her that no matter how mean she was to me, I had to "protect" her. I hated my dad for a very long time. He stopped beating her eventually, but the mind games were always present. He would call her names and put her down for being "slow" and "backwords" for being left handed and for having graduated from "special education" classes. It took alot to forgive him. I fought that calling when it was time. I never thought he deserved my forgiveness but what if God felt that same way about me and all the bad things I ever did. As hard as it was, I forgave him. I accepted my Father for who and what he was. It's rather disheartening to see him age and get weak and helpless. Knowing he had the potential to be a good man. I saw good things in him from time to time. It's naturally always easier to remember the hurts and embarrassments. Hell, even playing board games as a family was an event in itself when dad was playing. I can't remember one game played that didn't end up in a fight and/or someone going away from the table crying and feeling worthless. But that's my dad.
When dad suffered his stroke back in 1996, he felt it coming on and wasn't sure what was wrong with him. I was working nearly 45 minutes away at the time and he told my mom he wanted to go to the hospital. She started to get ready to take him, but he said he wanted me to take him. (go figure). When mom called and said dad wants to go to the hospital but wants me to take him, I couldn't imagine what the problem was. Dad never wanted to go to a doctor for anything. Hell he barely ever let us kids go even when we should have gone. Like the time my sister wrecked her bike in the gravel street and had tons of gravel imbedded in her knee...he just took her to the bathroom, scrubbed her knee with soapy water and used the tweezers to pull out the gravel. Then there was the time by sister and I were fighting at the front door one sunday morning to see who was going out first to the car and dad yelled at us to shut the door and after it slammed shut on my thumb and my thumbnail fell off...I never went to the doctor. Anyway.....I left work and drove to their house and there he was. Standing in the livingroom with this little boy look of worry in his big brown eyes and trying to talk to me and nothing but baby jibberish was coming out of his mouth because he lost the ability to form words; and managed to get out that he wanted to go to the hospital. I helped him with his shoes and off we went. Quite frankly, I'm amazed he didn't die that day. I'm not being mean..just serious. His blood pressure was through the roof. It was hours later that they finally got him stable enough to come talk to my mother and I to let us know what happened. He indeed suffered a stroke. It effected the entire right side of his body. His speech was temperarily gone and so was his ability to swallow. He had no use of his right hand or right leg until he went through some therapy. He was in the hospital and rehab for quite a long time. Mom had to go through some real hardship taking care of this man that was her husband. This same man that beat her daily. This same man that ridiculed her for being a lefty and backwards and slow. He was now at her mercy. She felt it was her wifely duties to care for her husband and she did the best she could do. The hardship was not only trying to care for someone that suddenly can't function on their own, but the mental anquish of "why should I when you put me through hell" played in her mind. My dad was now learning to be a lefty. Imagine that. I still think God has great punishment. He started back to some of his "old"ways. He was fighting her every attempt to help him. He threatened to throw things at her and even threw the remote at her once. She dutifully handled dad for 3 years on her own and I helped out when I could. I had my own issues (another post) during that 3 years and as much as I tried I wasn't much help to either of them. My sister lives in California and it's not like she could have came over once or twice a week to help. Mom nearly had a nervous breakdown and called me at 3am to take her to the hospital one morning. She was having an anxiety attack. I've never witnessed one before to my knowledge and I never want to again. With the help of the emergency room doctor, we got mom to realize that it was still her wifely duty to take care of her husband by allowing professionals to care of him. That's when we finally put dad in the nursing home. Talk about tramadic. He threw himself on the bed and screamed that no one loved him and we were giving him away. It was the haredest thing to witness. It's like all those years of abuse were wiped away and here was this little shell of a man crying like a baby and actually turning into one. He was and stll is in diapers now and has lost so much weight that his dentures wont stay in so they took them out.
When I visited him the other day I barely could find that abusive man in there. I think he's finally vanished. I'm not altogether sure there is much of man still there. He's wasting away to nothing and it's hard to see. Here sits a body of a man that is confined to a wheelchair. Has no teeth and can barely eat. Needs to be helped in and out of bed. He can't even stand up. He plays with the watch on his hand none stop. He sits there and hangs his head and chews his tongue and mumbles. THIS IS NOT MY DAD.....WHERE DID HE GO???? I have compassion for this little man that I never in my life had. I get angry when I think of all the wasted years and all the usless hardship and emotional stresses we were all put under. For What??? To grow old and end up sitting in a place where you know no one and have a visit once in awhile from people that say they are your family??? God bless my mom for going 3 times a week faithfully. He is not only 5 minutes from my apartment yet I haven't been there in nearly a year. Why???? Mostly because I can't stand to see him this way. Another reason is I have no relationship with him. I sat there the other day and stared at him. He asked me 4 or 5 times if it was cold outside because I had my heavy coat on. He asked me several times if I was his daughter....(only because we told him I was). There is now conversation. I have no idea where to even start to talk to him about anything. I don't know him. I never knew him. I'm 44 years old...soon to be 45 and I have no clue what my dad's favorite color is. I've never known my dad to read anything other than the newspaper. Now I don't even know if he knows what he's looking at when mom brings him the paper. I told him I'd be back in a few days. I intend to. But will I? Will I put it off again like I always do? Will I finally start getting over there like I should because bottom line he IS my Father? He was never an ideal dad that's for sure, but he is still my dad. My children no longer have their dad. They don't have the choice to go see him or not go see him. (another post) So this feeling of compassion I get when I see my dad makes me feel sorry for him. I plan on going to see him more often. There is going to come a day when that choice is gone. My dad is 82 years old until February 23rd. Will he make it till then??

This is the reason I have this's my journal about my everything. Some days I can sit here and go on and on and on. I've gone as far as I care to go today.


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