Saturday, October 13, 2007


My father was probably not the best father in the world. He cursed a lot. He drank a lot. He fought a lot with my Mom and left us when I was just a little girl. I'm sure my Mom wanted him gone, but it broke her heart every time he promised to come to take us somewhere and didn't. It broke my heart, too. He married 3 women and hurt all three, although I think that they did their fair share of hurting him, too. He had three daughters. This is for you Dad.

My father was an ex-Marine. He was quick to tell stories that were probably very little of the truth, or more of an exaggerated truth. He loved to exaggerate and he loved the attention it got him. When he told me over two years ago that he wasn't going to live to see Christmas, I sobbed, balled and did all the things a 'good daughter' should. I offered to fly to see him and as he said no through coughs and pants, I still decided I wanted to see him. When Christmas passed and his chronic emphysema hadn't killed him, I don't know if I was mad at him for bullshitting me that he was going to die and didn't or if I was relieved that he hadn't died.

He was married to a pathological liar, just like himself. She was somewhat of an exhibitionist and loved to talk about bondage, leather, masturbation, porn, spankings, and plenty of other things. I'll never forget when she bent over right in front of me with a leather whip and asked my Dad to lay one on her. I've never felt so nauseas in my entire life. There's a fine line between parent and child once you reach a certain age. She crossed it.

When the next Christmas came, he told me he was going to die again. He didn't. I hated him for lying to me. I was his daughter for Christ's sake. He sent me a Christmas card and a scary, goofy lamp and I think belonged in The Nightmare Before Christmas...I didn't keep it. Then Christmas time was approaching fast again, and I wondered if I'd get the call from him, saying he was dying again. I did get the call...This time, for real. Of course, this was the third time he'd told me that, but for some reason I believed him this time and needed some reassurance that he was full of shit and that he was just fine. He wasn't. My father had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He was given a few months to live. I understood it was serious but I closed my heart to the pain and wished it would just go away.

As a child I ran away a lot...and I mean a lot. I went from group home to group home. I was hooked on pretty much every drug at one time or another. I've overdosed. I've slept with men I didn't love. At 15, (I think I was 15) I overdosed on something. The doctors called my parents...My mother came first and both her and Angel sobbed at my bedside. I weighed a whopping 83 pounds and I was given maybe a week to live. No. I had no terminal illnesses. I was labeled self destructive. Between bulimia and addiction, I had ruined my life. My father came to visit. It blew me away, since I rarely ever heard from him or saw him. His advice to me, as he cut the hospital band off of my wrist, was to go and live for that week and not sit and detox in a hospital bed if I was going to die. I did just that. I left, and I didn't die. I ended up a strong, clean woman, chubby and college educated. There is a point to that story, and I promise I'm getting to it.

I went to visit my father before he died. Twice. The first visit was one that wasn't taking an emotional toll on me. He was thin...very thin. He coughed a lot and still smoked. He was still with the insane wife that was taking his meds with him and floating off to her job as a second grade school teacher. I say...they really have lowered the bar on who can teach your children these days. He wasn't the man I remembered. He couldn't eat. The second time I went he looked dead when I looked past the curtain is the musty smelling room. I walked to his bedside, hugged him and told him I loved him. Within 20 minutes we called an ambulance and brought him to the ER for severe dehydration. He refused treatment. He asked me to kill him repeatedly when we were alone in his room together as I helped his fragile body out of his gown and into some scrubs that he could wear home. He just wanted to go home he said. As the doled out more meds for him, Smurfette, which is what I'll call his wife, went to fill the prescription and I gave him water to sip and he hacked and heaved through his bony shell of a man. I didn't even recognize him anymore. He was an old man. He was quiet and wanted to die, as if he were 105. He looked 105. That night, I went home. The next day, he died.

It was a rush of pain that was drowned by Roxy that had decidedly taken control of the situation. She wanted to be the go-to person, and she wanted to be the one to fly down and handle a nonexistent estate. My father left no one anything. I was content with the idea that I would get the photos he left behind. Photos of us. When we all drove down to LA to go through the things, my sister was barking orders about how things with 'her father' should be handled. I really did hold my tongue, even though I wish she knew what this all meant to me. WE had just lost OUR father. But this was all about Roxy. She quickly went to that same old stale, dark, scary room where a couple of days before I held my father's frail hand and she rummaged through his things. I couldn't go all the way in. I didn't want to see his bed and where he once was, dead and cold... I wanted to run and scream that none of this was real. Roxy was struck with tunnel vision. She took everything from old tee shirts to his old military papers. These weren't the things I wanted. I wanted solid memories. Our memories. But did we really have any? Where was he most of my life? When she got to the closet, I heard her screech, "Ew. What the fuck is this?" In a little tiny container made of wood there was a teeny tiny dead lizard and a hospital bracelet. I wondered what the big deal was, and I looked a little bit closer. There it was. The hospital bracelet the he cut off of my wrist so many years before. I burst into tears and realized, my Daddy is dead. He's gone. But he saved this memory as a sign of my life. He knew I wouldn't die on him. He knew even though he hadn't raised me, that my mother had, And my mother, as bitchy as she can be sometimes, is bitchy for my own good. She loves me and tried as hard as she could to raise decent daughters.

As I sit here, I want to stand up as straight as I can, extend my arm in a snap and bend it at the elbow. My index finger grazes my forehead and I salute my father. A strong willed man. A stubborn man that loved his wives. Loved his daughters, and lived life fast and hard. He left memories that will last a long lifetime. I scattered him today, very illegally in Golden Gate Park, and I cried inside...We had a memorial service for him, and his wife couldn't be there. The stress of life without my Dad keeping her head above water seems to have been to much and she's now sitting in psychiatric ward. life can be a drag.

I'll miss you, Daddy. I hate you for leaving me, but I love you for being my Daddy.


  1. I don't really know what to say. You've got no idea who I am and I've got no idea who you are, but my best wishes are with you.