Losing DadIt was December 24, 2005. My sister had shaken me awake, and I could hear mom and dad arguing. We went out into the living room. Dad had some bags packed. He said that he was leaving. My mom and sister were accusing him of being a *********. These accusations were a shock to me. I was very confused and upset. The yelling and arguing continued. That was the scariest noise in the world to me, hearing dad yell. I think if I were to hear it now, it would still have the power to bring me to tears. He left that morning, and took a room in a nearby hotel.
The rest of the day was tense, with strained smiles and false happiness. The only thing I still remember clearly from that night was the phone call. Dad called in the evening. He asked to speak with me. We had a very strange conversation. He kept repeating, "I love you, you know that I love you, right? No matter what, I'll always love you". It was said with such sadness and desperation that I had a sinking feeling in my heart that grew worse as we spoke. Eventually, mom took the phone from me and went into her bedroom to speak with him.
Sometimes, after an event, we tend to look back on something and claim to have known all along what the outcome would be. But I swear, after I finished speaking with him, I was very suspicious that he was going to try to kill himself. I had taken a health class in school not long before where we had gone over the signs of a suicidal person. The types of things that they say. I heard those warning signs in my brief conversation with him.
But I kept my fears to myself.
I wish that I hadn't. The biggest regret I have is not revealing my fears to anyone. Maybe it would have stopped him, maybe not. All I know is what happened the next day.
It was Christmas morning, and we had finished unwrapping our gifts. We were heading out of town for the day, and mom wanted to know if my sister or I wanted to drop our presents for dad off at the hotel. I did.
I still remember what I had gotten him. A pair of black leather gloves. It was cold, and he needed a new pair.
We pulled in up to the hotel and parked. There was an ambulance outside. My fears spiked for an instant, but I shoved them away as being ridiculous. Mom took my present in to the front desk, and we left for the day.
When we arrived home, there was a card on the door saying that the police needed to get in touch with us.
When they arrived, the two officers sat us down on the couch. They told us how dad had purposefully overdosed on his insulin. Time of death was around 11pm, December 24.
One of my first concrete thoughts was of the gloves. The gloves! He had never gotten them. To me, it was a small token that said, "even with everything going on right now, I love you and care about you." And he had never gotten it. It had arrived too late.
He was gone.