Was the day I left for North Carolina from Oregon. I was in May, warm and sunny. He looked sad, perhaps disappointed, that his flighty, freespirited daughter was on the move again. Before I got in my car for the last time in Oregon, I looked up to see his tear-filled eyes, and my heart broke.
Six years later I had still not returned home, as money had been tight. I went from living with a man I thought I loved, and who I thought loved me in return, to living with a friend and making internet romance again. Then to moving in with my future husband, and making a baby. It was only months later that we wed. I was sorry that he could not come.
Three years earlier he became ill. His chest and legs began to hurt, and then his hands. He had arthritis, and a muscle-deteriorating disease, that took him bit by bit. Talking about the last time I saw him isn't what hurts, what rips at my insides, what crushes me and makes it unbearable to take a breath, no, that is not what hurts. It's our last phone call, a month before his death that keeps the wound fresh.
He called and asked that i come home for Thanksgiving. I can't say that his voice held any urgency, or that there was a need for me to return quickly. Thanksgiving afterall, was a month away. I said I would try, he said, good. We talked about the weather, about our car(he was a mechanic) and about my daughter, his granddaughter. We talked about my husband and how he thought I could probably kick his butt(he always wanted me to be the tough one, like him), and we talked about being sick. He fell into a little dementia and argued with my mother about a car he had for me, that she said was sold already. Because he had not been out of his bed in a year, he did not believe it. He KNEW the car was in the garage in the backyard. I could hear that he was genuinely upset with her for lying to him,and it then that he cried and begged me to come home and take care of him. Oh, how I longed for our missed relationship, the one we never had, or the one I wanted and thought we never had. Perhaps if I had not been wanting such a perfect thing I may have enjoyed the one thing we had, that now I cannot recall.
He sobbered up and we talked of lighter things, the car again forgotten. He tired easily then and so we began to say our goodbyes. I said, "I love you dad" and he said, "I love you too babe" and I said goodbye and hung up the phone.
I can happily say, I have no regrets about my fathers death as we parted on a high note. My father said he loved me, and that is worth a lifetime of happiness.