September 11th....... It's a double dose for me. Not only is it the day the U.S. was changed forever but it's also a day my life changed forever. Same day, different years.This is a first for me, to write this down, even to say it out loud which, I've only done with a few people, but I figure a blog is almost like a journal and I feel like I'm finally at a place that I can do this.
6 years ago today my daddy passed away from a short battle with cancer. I remember the day he found out and called a "family meeting". We NEVER had "family meetings" so I knew it was something bad, especially since it followed a visit to the Dr. for my dad, which also NEVER happened. He was told he had stage 4 colon cancer and 5 months to live. They say eventually life changes and the child ends up taking care of the parent, well, my changed a little earlier than I thought. I was 20 years old and taking my dad to chemo appointments, because he couldn't drive. I was 20 years old and getting my dad hard candy and ice pops because the chemo caused him to have a sweet tooth. I was 20 years old and giving up my bed for my dad, trying anything just so he could get comfortable somewhere. I was driving back and forth to college every weekend to be able to stay in class and spend those last few precious moments with him. I remember at some point during this we had a storm and it blew over a portion of our backyard fence. My dad was really too weak to be working on it, but he was out there with his hammer trying to fix that fence and I was getting into my car to go back to school and I hugged him and told him to not over do it. Eventually he got to where he was too weak to take chemo and had to stop. Chemo is a crazy thing. My dad was hot and cold and loved sweets! So not my typical daddy. Cold things physically HURT him but he loved those Popsicles. Then one night I got the call. They were taking my dad to the hospital. When he went in, he seemed OK, just needed something for the pain. Eventually he went from eating and drinking on his own to needing someone to hold the sponge so he could suck the water off of it. After almost 2 weeks, I got the call. It was a Thursday night and I was eating with JP and his best friend at the best taqueria in Huntsville. My mom said I needed to come home and pack some clothes for the funeral. I remember standing in my closet trying to decide what to pack and saying over and over in my head "How do you decide what to wear to your dad's funeral". I don't know why this was such a hard decision for me. I also didn't want to go home, I knew what was happening. JP said he was going to drive me, which I'm thankful he did because I probably wouldn't have gone. He drove 90 mph the whole way home and dropped me off at the hospital. I spent the whole weekend at the hospital only going home to shower and change. Early Sunday morning around 5:15 AM my mom, my aunt, and I (we were all staying in the room) woke up at the same time and went to sit on my dad's bed. His breathing was getting shallow and my mom decided it was time to call my sister. When she got there it was about 5:40 AM and we had all hugged my dad and were talking to him and then my sister started talking about this black kitten she had seen outside of the hospital. (This is noteworthy because my dad was the most superstitious man I've ever met. He saw a black cat a mile away he turned around and went the other way). It was then I looked up at my dad and we realized he was gone. I had pleaded and pleaded with God and prayed that he wouldn't take him on THAT DAY, Sept. 11th. I wanted my dad to have his OWN day for some reason. I don't know why but I really struggled with this. I was angry, so angry. I've dealt with this and I know it's God's plan and there's a reason for everything. In some things that have happened since my dad passed away I see his reasoning, but then some days I wonder what it would be like if he were still here. It definitely brought my mom and I closer together and I cherish every moment I get to spend with her. In my own little way I've decided Sept. 11th was a good day for my dad to pass. There are probably more prayers going up to heaven on this one day than any other. Yes, they aren't all for my dad specifically but at least they're prayers in memory.
I still cry and get mad. I'm more afraid of forgetting him than anything. Right now, I can still remember the way his voice sounded, the way he smelled and the way he felt when I hugged him. The way he was always whistling something, always counting something on fingers (even in his sleep), and practicing his golf swing in the kitchen. I can still hear him calling me "Runt", or saying "Ohhhh Nikki Rae, come here darling daughter" in his little sing songy voice. I hope I will still be able to hear that when I'm 90 years old (or however long I live). Every year for his birthday, father's day, and Sept. 11th we release balloons at his grave with a note written on them. This is special to my family because for every birthday, and anniversary for my mom, he would buy a balloon and tie it to our bedroom door knobs. I miss those balloons.