Best Friend...

My Dad died October 7th last year, exactly 6 months after my own birthday, and when I was about 2 weeks into my 2nd year at University.
I still remember that day. My Grandad rang me up, and immediately I knew something was wrong by his tone. I was lucky that my boyfriend was there just at that moment. I just broke down and slumped against the front door, crying my eyes out.
He was an only child, which has left my Grandparents with no more children, and I was his only child which meant that by law I had to sort everything out as his next of kin. I didn't find out till a few days later that he died of a pulmonary embolism.
In total, it was all related to his alcoholism. A problem I never knew about until I was around 8 or 9, when the police found him slumped in his car in a ditch. Suddenly everything became clear, all the whispers behind the doors, all the secret looks between him and my Mom. I was determined at that age to stop him from drinking, and because we were so close, for a time it worked.
But people grow up, and when I was in college, he met a woman. They seemed happy, until it became clear that she was messing him around, tagging him along, call it whatever you will. If there's anyone I wish I had never met, it was her. Because she was the main factor in his life, keeping him as he was, and she was the one who reintroduced drink back into his life. And then just left him.
The next few years after that, I'm sure he drank when she let him down. When I visited, I would here them talking on the phone, him begging her to not be angry with him, to just listen to what he was saying. I hated to hear my Dad like that, and I wanted to say what I thought of her. But he openly admitted she didn't love him like he loved her, but that he was too old to find anyone else. (He was 51 when he said this, and a spitting image of a jolly Santa Claus)
The next year, he became iller. The last time I saw him alive was when I took my boyfriend down to meet him and my family. He was obviously in pain, but my Dad was proud, and would never admit it to anyone, especially not me. And he certainly wouldn't go to the Doctor's.

And then the 8th of October, I got the news. I wanted so much to be with my Grandparents at that point, and the next 2 weeks were spent away from University, confirming my Dad's funeral details, making sure my Grandparents were okay, and generally keeping a brave face.

Both sides of my family were amazing, but I definetely felt enclosed a lot of the time. They all started talking about what a great guy he was, and I so much wanted to scream about how they'd hardly even spoken to him, how they always talked badly about his habits, and his drinking. None of them really knew what a great man he was, no-one but me, and my Grandparents, knew that about him. Because no-one cared to find out.

Like all people, I guess I have regrets. Maybe if I'd lived closer, spoken more, forced him to go for tests at the hospital. Even invited him to live near me? I could've gotten him away from that woman, focused his attention on his life instead of hanging around on someone else's. But I know you can't force that on someone.

He made choices in life that led to where he was, and what happened to him. And above all, I know he wouldn't want me to blame myself for any of that. He was the best Father anyone could ever ask for. Constantly there for me, constantly loving and respecting and being proud of my every decision. I had a connection spiritually and mentally with my Dad that I've never had with anyone else, and that is what I miss more then anything else in the world.
Clarina Clarina
18-21, F
Apr 28, 2007