I’ll always love my dad
My father passed away always two years ago. He was only 33! He hadn’t even lived half of the life we all hope to.
My father and mother had me when they were still in high school. As they were growing up, they were watching me grow up too. My father went overseas to fight for our country when he was only 17. When he got back, he had a tattoo on his left bicep of a jaguar wrapped in barbed wire. He told me it was the only way to explain how he felt: trapped. I think of that so much these days.
My dad became disabled from the waist down in 2001. I was embarrassed by that. I was ashamed that my dad was “different.” My parents separated before the accident and I have always resided with my mom. My mother worked her ass off every day, still is, to take care of me. In spite of our problems, they did such a great job. I had everything growing up. They raised me with so much compassion, sympathy, love, and good values. I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much from having young parents.
My dad couldn’t deal with his disability. Naturally, when you are disabled you are prescribed all kinds of medications. Opioids became my dad’s escape from a life full of limitations.
The last phone conversation I ever had with my father, he said to me, “You should come over here and swim with me. We have a huge pool.” I said that sounded fun, but I had no intention of going. I didn’t like the drugs. I didn’t like the alcohol. It got to the point where I no longer wanted to be around it.
I remember being so afraid of addressing his substance use disorder with him. I never asked him about recovery. I wish I would have looked him in the eyes, shook his shoulders, and screamed at him to get help. To let go of his demons. To take back control of his life. But I was too afraid to hurt his feelings to intervene. I never wanted him to think he was anything less than a #1 Dad in my eyes.
My dad tried to moderate his use. I remember him frantically telling me to help him look for the other half of his script: he’d hid the pills from himself earlier in the month so that he wouldn’t take it. Two years ago, he died.
It hurts me to the core knowing he was not there for my prom, my graduation day, or the day I bought my first car. He missed all the firsts, seconds, and millionths in between. I wish he was here to see every passing second.
My dad and I were both young when he passed away. Now, I see life in a new way. I am a completely different person. I’d love for him to see all of this. But more than anything I want to be a better off person. My dad can’t be here, but I can. I can share his story and live the life he wanted me to.
All of the things I’m accomplishing, all of the things I’m doing, and all of the places I’m going: I’ll always love my dad.