My Father Was Quickly Dying- But Only Told Strangers

I was sitting in my living room watching TV with my mom and boyfriend like any typical day, it was around 7PM when my moms phone rang. She answered her phone and her face immediately filled with panic she started hyperventilating and sobbing. I instantly knew something was wrong, I ran to her side when I heard my little brother scream on the other side of the phone, “He’s dead! You have to come here now!” I burst in to tears myself and sat there panicking, “Who’s dead?! It can’t be my dad, I talked to him yesterday, he was headed to the hospital today.” My mom grabbed me and said, “I’m so sorry baby girl but your dad just died, you need to tell your siblings.”

The months prior to his death he almost begged me to move out to be with him, after he wasn’t able to persuade me he settled with moving back home to Arizona. He planned his move for February, the month after he passed away. My dad told me the day prior to his death that he was headed to the hospital the following day to check in for an outpatient alcohol addiction program. He was acting so strange, telling me that he was scared, he wouldn’t go in to detail about his fear just that he was very worried. I assured him he was fine, that he was the strongest person I had ever known and he could do it if he just put his mind to it. I told him I loved him and those were the last words my father and I would ever exchange.

My mom booked a flight for the next day to be with my brother and I flew out two days after her. Walking in to his apartment was so weird, I was so excited to be there, to be able to smell my dad and see all of his things but it hurt so much to know that he had slept in his bed just three days prior, without a single person in the world knowing he wouldn’t be here anymore. After getting all of his things in order (death certificate, life insurance, cremation, etc.) it was time to start packing all of his things up. I came across medical records, records of multiple doctor visits, tests that had been ran, blood transfusions that he had received. I was so shocked and quite frankly I was pretty pissed off that my dad didn’t tell anyone, other than strangers.

My father owned a small business, carpet cleaning, he had rugs of clients that I needed to return to them. I drove to this woman’s house and after her apologies for my loss she said, “when he told me he had just had blood transfusions he never lead on that it was anything serious.” I was so shocked, my father could confide in clients, but not his own family? I was hurt but I couldn’t do anything to change it. After talking with my brother he had a feeling something was wrong with our dad. He was constantly sick, he would call in to work almost every day. He began acting so weak at the end that my brother would stay home from school to take care of him. It was all a screwed up mess and I was left in the dark.

I feel guilty that I was angry at my dad, but I now believe that if I weren’t angry initially I wouldn’t have had the strength to get through the first few months of him being gone. I was so angry at him, if he would have just told me what was going on I would have been at his side the whole time. I was angry that I missed so much of him. I have amazing memories of my dad when I was just a little girl, everyone called me his shadow because I was constantly attached to his hip. But I didn’t know my dad as an adult, we literally lived on opposite sides of the country. When I was still in school I would go years without seeing him. I’m so angry that I took him for granted, I didn’t think even in my most wild dreams that I would lose my dad at 19 years old. It gets easier every day, but the hurt of him being gone never goes away.

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