Monday, February 25, 2008

It was 5 years ago today

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.

21 comments:

Margie H said...

Oh, dear Theresa! Even though he isn't here physically, he will always be in your heart! Thank you for sharing this touching story...you made me cry :0P But such a nice tribute to your father! Thank you!! xoxoxo

RobinV said...

Theresa I am so sorry for your pain. My father died 1 year ago this Wednesday (the day before his birthday)and I never had a chance to return his call from the day before. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him.

If you need to talk or if I can do anything please let me know.

Robin

Becky Heisler said...

Oh Tee I am so sorry :( Thank you for sharing your story with us though! It's so touching, and a good reminder to be with the ones we love before time runs out!

(((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))

CarlaJ said...

What a tribute! I am sure your dad knew he was loved.

Cheryl Wray said...

This is such a BEAUTIFUL post, Theresa!!! Your Dad sounds like such a wonderful man and you were oh so lucky to have him in your life!!! I know that he absolutely knew how much you loved him and would have never wanted you to fret over not seeing him that one last time.

I'm praying that you will get through today with all those wonderful memories of him.

Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

The Sterks said...

Tree,

I can only imagine how deep your pain is in losing your father, how fresh the wound still is. He sounds like such a wonderful man. God truly blessed you by bringing you together and showing you a glimpse of His own deep love for you rhrough your dad. I pray you feel His arms around you as you remember and mourn your father. I'm so thankful you shared such an intimate and meaningful part of you. You're in my prayers.

Lots of love,
Jen

Anonymous said...

Tree,

Ever since you came home for Thanksgiving dad's presence still remains..I think that he is waiting for mom..I know that sounds crazy but
i am home alot and i have noticed it more than ever..I can rewind time and remember every little detail of that day..It was weird that you called crying because i was thinking of you..i forgot about that day..And when we hung up i cried too..Sometimes i still smell
a pot of coffee brewing early in the morning. That is how dad would wake me up every day..We would have
animal crackers and coffee together..I miss him...

love
ley

Anonymous said...

My heart is heavy for you Theresa... He sounds like an amazing father... You were lucky to have him..:)

Kara

sollie said...

((((hugs)))

Gaspegirl said...

Theresa, your words are so moving! It is clear that you loved your Dad and what a special relationship you had! This is the most beautiful blog entry that I have ever read - my heart hurts for you today! (((HUGS)))

Kristi's News said...

Love you girl! There is nothing wrong with remembering the good times and hurting. I still hurt every year of my cousin's death and that has been 14 years this May 13th. The memories are wonderful and the pain is great, but they are in heaven preparing our home. What a wonderful thought to know we will see them again!

I'm thinking of you lots today. Love your blog!

Jude said...

T, you have expressed this beautifully. As one who has made that flight home I understand the urgency you must have felt. Your Dad sounds like an amazing man, and a wonderful grandfather. Thank you for sharing his story with us, I feel blessed to have heard it. I find it of no surprise that he took one look at you and wanted to keep you forever... your beautiful personality shines as plainly as your beautiful face... :) Hugs to you friend... and much love! :)

~Cheryl said...

Aw, girlfriend- my heart is aching for you right now. I'm so sorry. :( I'm sending my ***HUGS*** your way right now...

C70 said...

{{{{{HUGS}}}}} Theresa! I am so sorry to hear of your sorrow. I pray that someday, the pain will go away. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

I can understand your grief over the loss of your father and wish to tell you that I'm sorry for your loss. My father was the most special person in my life too. Although I am the middle child of five, I have known my entire life that I was his favorite. He lived for 20 years following the death of my mother, who never met any of my children, so I know that his relationship with my two children was special. He has been gone now about 3 years and I still cry when I think of him often. I hope that you can realize how special it was to have someone like that in your life.

joybear said...

What a wonderful Daddy. I am not sure who wrote the quote time heals...I think it must have been some who was extremely old and going senile, because it just doesn't seem to be true. I lost my brother and I honestly don't know how many years it has been because I still haven't really accepted it. ((((HUGS))))

Joz said...

Oh Theresa you have me in tears reading this. You never got to say goodbye because it isn't goodbye. He's in your heart forever and always. And I am sure you told him many times how much you loved him. He knew....

Hugs Sweetie!
Joz

Katie said...

Theresa,
I just wanted to let you know that your tribute to your Dad was really moving. Its good to remember and contemplate.

Dettao said...

OH, Theresa, my heart breaks for you. My dad will be gone 5 years in March. I still miss him every single day so I completely understand how hard it must be for you. thank you so much for opening your heart up to us. Much love to you, sweetie

Amy Birch said...

I'm so sorry, Theresa. Such a hard thing to have to bear.

{{{Hugs}}}

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