"i've Gone To Find Myself. If I Get Back Before I Return, Keep Me Here."
I never really had my dad while growing up. He was an alcoholic and it was rare that he ever saw us. About two years before his death, he stopped drinking and we became very close. Well, as close as we could be considering he lived 1200 miles away. In August of 2007, he came to visit me for two weeks. He brought three big scrap books filled with photographs and letters I wrote and pictures I drew and sent to him. He spent the entire two weeks at my house, but went out every day to visit friends he hadn't seen in a while. A couple days before he left, he told us he had lymphoma cancer, but reassured us that he'd be fine. He had his first treatment scheduled for the day after my birthday, August 21st. Before he left, he gave me my baby shoes that he had kept on his dresser all these years. He left my driveway 5 times. The last time he pulled away, it felt strange. I wanted to run down the street and chase him down and tell him to just stay with us, we'd take care of him. I just had this awful feeling that it was the last visit. October 2nd, 2007, as I was walking out of McDonald's and into my van, my mother called me to tell me he had passed away the night before. All the blood rushed out of my head and down to my toes. It didn't seem real at all. I told her I had to get off the phone because I felt dizzy. I called my little sister, and her reaction made me finally cry. Till then, it wasn't real, so I didn't cry right away. The drive to New York to bury him was cold and quiet, empty, strange. Choosing a casket was something I'd never imagined having to do. We found a shirt for my daddy to be buried in that read "I've Gone to Find Myself. If I get back before I return, keep me here." We couldn't find a tie dye shirt that we wanted, but this one was just as good. We buried him just near the Adirondaks Mountains in upstate New York, just several feet from a gorgeous lake. He can go fishing any time now.
I miss him...I miss him all the time. I finally got my daddy back, and he was taken away again. I'll cherish the time I did have though.