That a 5 month pregnant Theresa was running frantically through the airport in St. Louis trying to make the next flight out to Texas. I remember a male desk attendant hollering at me, hurry up! I wanted to say, "Look, my father is laying in a hospital bed possibly dying. Don't you think I want to get to him as quickly as possible? But for your information, I can't run any faster carrying this baby, and if I lose this baby because you tried to rush me along, wouldn't you feel bad?" I wanted to say this, but I was so winded, I couldn't afford the breath to get the words out. It wasn't his fault. He didn't know I was pregnant because I really wasn't showing then. I remember sitting on the 2 hour flight to Houston. Two flight attendants were sitting close to me, laughing and chatting about nothing. I wanted to turn to them and say, "Shut up! My Dad's dying!!", but it wasn't their fault my dad was so sick. I was jealous of them, being so happy, not facing what I was about to face. He died while I was in the air making the descent into Houston. I missed him by 30 minutes. I never even got to say goodbye.
Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around the third week of January. I immediately fell into the stage of denial. I forced my dad to take the chemo, even though he didn't want to. But he did it for me, hoping doing so would ease the worry that laid heavy on my mind. Eric and I were right in the middle of closing the deal on our house on Ruth Lane. I had already been in Texas 2 weeks, but I had to go back to Missouri to finalize the closing and the move. I didn't know how bad Dad had gotten while I was gone. Mom never let on and Dad never complained. Not one single time did he complain. Not once. That was the kind of man he was. He was my hero, in more ways than one. You see, if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here. I was born to a very poor Filipino woman and a serviceman who was not man enough to step up to the responsibility of a child and a woman who loved him. My Mom and Dad had tried for years to have a child to no avail. Then a friend of a friend told my mom to come see a newborn baby that would probably end up in an orphanage. My Dad was opposed to the idea. My mom coerced him into going to see me. He took one look at me, and couldn't leave me. As the story goes, there were sugar ants crawling on me. It was a pitiful site according to my parents. From that day there was a bond that not even death could break. I didn't find out I was adopted until I was 30 years old. When I asked my Dad why he waited so long to tell me (he bawled like a baby when he told me), he said it was because he never wanted me to feel like I was anything other than his own flesh and blood. It was my Dad who was always there for me, through all that I'd been through. When I was a teen going through those awkward years, it was my Dad who sat at the foot of my bed while I was crying, consoling me, telling me how special I really was. After three failed marriages, it was my Dad who was always there to pick up the pieces, and send me on my way on this road of life again. You see, it was really hard to fill Dad's shoes. I guess he's partly to blame for my failed marriages because nobody could ever measure up to him. He was who I measured men against. Until now. I think God knew what I was about to face and sent Eric into my life, the only man who could fill Daddy's shoes, 7 months before my Dad died. My heavenly Father didn't want me to face this grief alone. Now Eric is my rock. Eric got to meet my Dad, but I wish he could've got to know him better. Eric has never had a Dad and this his one chance to finally share a father/son bond with someone, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. The hardest thing was that Daddy died knowing he'd never get to hold the grandson I was carrying at the time. He loved my older boys. He was their Tata. He'd drive all the way from League City to Lake Jackson to watch his grandsons play sports, etc. He was there for them, just like he was there for me. I could always count on him to baby sit. I worked shift work at the time for Roche Vitamins and Fine Chemicals. He would drive all the way over to pick the boys up and take them for the weekend so I could work. When I was growing up, he never missed a football game. He was there, faithfully to watch me in the band or on the dance team. I would search the stands for his face, and always, he would be there.
So, with a heavy heart, I am allowing myself to think about this amazing man today. I try not to think about him too much because the pain is still so severe. I know it's been 5 years since he's been gone. But pain is still there. The hurt is still fresh. I guess you just learn to deal with it on a day by day basis.
He died 30 minutes before I got to Texas. I never got to say goodbye. But I know deep in my heart, he knew without a doubt how much I loved him, and I know how much he loved me.