My Dad...the hard stuff

August 03, 2015  •  3 Comments

As I sat down to write this tonight, a ton of memories flooded me and just overwhelmed me.  Tears just streaming down my face.  Tomorrow marks three years ago that I said good-bye to my dad and yet it seems like yesterday.  My dad was a complicated man to say the very least.  It's taken me a long time to finally put together who I think he really was. When I look at pictures of him from his childhood, I just see this sweet little face and big blue eyes.  How did that sweet little boy end up the man that he became.  

418836_4531773695341_877092265_n418836_4531773695341_877092265_n 553432_4531776015399_1223886261_n553432_4531776015399_1223886261_n

My dad was rough.  He was rough from start to finish.  He struggled with so many things throughout his life from abuse in his own childhood home, failed marriages and friendships, failed life goals, a lot of self loathing and just trying to figure out his place in this world.  He once told me he had a lot to be ashamed of.  My dad was an addict and that addiction made him a thief, a liar and abusive.  He had so many larger than life stories that you never knew where the lies ended and the truth began. I could lay out all of his offenses but he's gone and what good would that accomplish.  I finally gave up trying to sift through it all after his passing and realized that all that was apart of who he was.  

558365_4531787535687_626693969_n558365_4531787535687_626693969_n 1909830_4531810496261_782188748_n1909830_4531810496261_782188748_n

I was angry with him for a really long time.  I wanted a different dad.  I wanted the one who went to a job every day and helped my mom.  I wanted the kind of dad that I could be proud of.  That went to church, held his wife's hand and took care of his family.  It wasn't okay with me that he wasn't the dad I wanted.  That my sisters and I deserved.  The husband that my mom should have had. 

Once I had my own children, I saw a different side to my dad.  The one who always struggled getting clean and never achieved it.  The one who loved with his whole heart and the depth of those feelings ran so deep that he would often get emotional.  The man who fought depression.  The Dad who bought me a piece of Elvis Presley memorabilia after every argument we had to show me that no matter what I did to upset him, he still loved me.  The one who would give a friend the shirt off of his back and all of the one's in the drawers (no literally he would and it drove my mom crazy).  He took in the strays, the one's who had no family, needed to get clean or needed a second chance (this also drove my mom crazy).  I think he saw so much of himself in them and he wanted to give them a chance.  The one who, once we finally got honest with each other, became my rock, my friend and the most amazing grandfather to my children than I would've ever thought possible.

313216_4531796855920_1622345283_n313216_4531796855920_1622345283_n 306427_4531799815994_606302844_n306427_4531799815994_606302844_n

When he was diagnosed with a fatal illness that stemmed from some of his rough lifestyle choices, I ran the gammat of emotions from denial, anger and acceptance.  My life changed.  I decided every moment I had with him would be spent laughing, talking and being real with each other.  I wanted him to get the most out of his final days...whatever that meant.  Even when it meant fighting with my mom about whether he should eat a hearty meal versus that bowl of dreamsicle ice cream he loved even though it wasn't good for him.  I struggled even more when we had to decide to put him into an assisted living facility because I just knew I was somehow letting him down.  The day my sister called to tell me that time was way too quickly approaching that he would be gone, I looked at Eric with a face full of tears and he (in his most understanding way) said "Get in the truck.  Let's go" and that sweet husband of mine drove 90 miles an hour almost the whole way to get us there in time.  My sister and I sat holding his hands and telling him it was okay to go when he took his very last breath.  It truly was the most heartbreaking moment of my adult life.  What I failed to see at the time, was how blessed I was to have been given those last moments to forgive out loud, to talk it out and to tell him I loved him.

432055_4531894538362_739351981_n432055_4531894538362_739351981_n

People have asked me over the years (MANY TIMES) how I could love a man who was so rough and want to make his final days the best I could.  The answer is simple.  He was my Dad.  He loved me in the ways that he knew how.  He's the man who, when everyone else was watching the parade at Disneyland, rode on Pirates of the Caribbean with me over and over again and each time pointing out something new and laughing at the top of his lungs (I can still hear that laugh and it still makes me smile).  He raised me to see the beauty in the every day.  He's the guy who when I had a problem at school rode his Harley into the Principal's Office (not up to but IN to).  He was the man who told me to marry my best friend and then strapped on his chaps and rode all night long when he found out that Eric was throwing me a surprise wedding so that he could be there to walk me down the aisle (right after he tried to talk Eric out of marrying me - ha ha).  He gave me a love of music, being tickled until it hurts, to believe and stand tall for our country and God (even though he struggled himself with his own faith).  He always tried to teach me wrong from right.  I can still hear his words "Don't end up like me Kierstyn.  Learn from my mistakes."  Lastly, he is the one who loved my children with literally all he had and his final word was to my son when we arrived to say good-bye to him.  It was just a simple "hi" but it meant everything to my boy who looked at his Papa as his best friend.

399505_4531799135977_267556625_n399505_4531799135977_267556625_n 549727_4531816176403_948958679_n549727_4531816176403_948958679_n

So no matter how hard he was for lots of other people to love (and yes I completely understand why), I loved him and I loved him in that BIG, HUGE, up to the sky kind of love!!!  So I honor a man who raised me, who loved me and who, when I needed him, was always there for me.  He was so perfectly imperfect.  He was crazy, beautiful!  


What I learned from him was to love my children and to discipline them with a protective hand instead of a heavy one, to stay away from drugs because the addiction gene runs strong in my family, to be outrageous and try things at least once, to enjoy the adventure that is life, to fill your life with friends and family who love you and to accept people without judgement because you never know their story.  

 

Thanks for letting me get real with you.  Being myself is the best thing I can do for myself and for all of you.  Here are some pictures that make me smile and remember the good stuff.

 

 

539257_4531780615514_574702187_n539257_4531780615514_574702187_n 533187_4531780055500_1575477211_n533187_4531780055500_1575477211_n 480825_4531777655440_890696157_n480825_4531777655440_890696157_n 487748_4531781455535_1772406408_n487748_4531781455535_1772406408_n 422231_4531781215529_1486398899_n422231_4531781215529_1486398899_n    8072_4531807376183_950936449_n8072_4531807376183_950936449_n 217830_4531899338482_1802985685_n217830_4531899338482_1802985685_n 558225_4531784215604_830066383_n558225_4531784215604_830066383_n 292347_4531782935572_430269296_n292347_4531782935572_430269296_n 555580_4531781775543_952541470_n555580_4531781775543_952541470_n 405266_4531785615639_49342617_n405266_4531785615639_49342617_n 394686_4531784975623_1619506073_n394686_4531784975623_1619506073_n 558218_4531787055675_2015112892_n558218_4531787055675_2015112892_n 314405_4531809496236_1481816798_n314405_4531809496236_1481816798_n 540316_4531794495861_2108644403_n540316_4531794495861_2108644403_n 409592_4531794815869_2124431250_n409592_4531794815869_2124431250_n 409585_4531801256030_1626436033_n409585_4531801256030_1626436033_n 417441_4531790695766_213295480_n417441_4531790695766_213295480_n IMG_4366IMG_4366 IMG_4367IMG_4367 IMG_4368IMG_4368 559244_4531788695716_1138510228_n559244_4531788695716_1138510228_n 432170_4531803696091_1833054033_n432170_4531803696091_1833054033_n 488272_4531891258280_40753844_n488272_4531891258280_40753844_n 417282_4531894898371_610562248_n417282_4531894898371_610562248_n 309042_4531897818444_172485829_n309042_4531897818444_172485829_n 215488_4531795175878_1755350267_n215488_4531795175878_1755350267_n 255295_4531795815894_1231877747_n255295_4531795815894_1231877747_n 215480_4531810896271_2006555819_n215480_4531810896271_2006555819_n 427425_4531795535887_1444040567_n427425_4531795535887_1444040567_n 552553_4531899538487_519482984_n552553_4531899538487_519482984_n 405233_4531901658540_984596355_n405233_4531901658540_984596355_n

185422_4531805096126_1534681856_n185422_4531805096126_1534681856_n

 

 

 

 


Comments

3.Melissa Brewer Photography(non-registered)
I am crying so hard reading this. Thank you for sharing this particular post on FB today; I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately (who is also gone), and this reminded me a lot of my dad. I needed this. Your photography is beautiful, by the way!
2.Cary & Debbie: (Known as Cuz) by your DAD(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing what I already felt about Doug even more by seeing him as he was and how I thought I knew him in the oh, so short time that I did . . .we miss him too !
I grew to know and respect Doug when I was his care giver and friend for the 6 1/2 weeks or so I was blessed and "permitted"and honored to spend with him.
Thanks to your entire Family for sharing him with us.
The secrets we shared will go to my grave now as well . . .
1.Amy Muckle(non-registered)
Beautifully written, I can see your tears as I shared some also.
No comments posted.
Loading...