Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And here is where I get all melancholy and shit....

I'm not a sad melancholy kind of person. I don't do sad. I don't do melancholy. Anymore. Usually.

As a teenager and young adult, however, I was a most teenagers and young adults are. Actually, I should probably narrow that down even more to teenage GIRLS and young adult I don't think this dramatic sorrow afflicts most young men the same way.

My father died when I was five. I spent the better part of my life up to young adult hood dwelling, mourning, and grieving over that fact. I wrote in a journal to my dad almost daily. I prayed every night...not to God...but to my Dad. Was constantly dwelling on the what coulda beens and what shoulda beens of my life and just generally feeling sorry for myself. I ENJOYED being sad and would purposely MAKE myself sad. I would sit in my room and play sad music and MAKE myself cry. Pathetic.

But somewhere along the way self preservation kicked in and I decided that self pitying melancholy is quite unhealthy. Depressing even. And I decided that was not how I wanted to live my life.

I pushed the self pity aside and stopped dwelling on thoughts of my Dad. This was a conscious decision. When thoughts creeped in...I replaced those thoughts. When sad songs played....I changed the station. I still to this day HATE sad movies. Movies like "The Titanic", "Philadelphia" & "Step Mom" will NOT be played in my presence. They're depressing and they suck!

But I'm human. And every now and then when the hormones are now for instance....and hubby is out of now for instance.....the thoughts invade my brain and WILL NOT LEAVE.

It started this the car....having a conversation with my daughter.

"Mommy, I miss Gracie, when can we see her again?"

"Honey, we can't see Gracie....she's in doggy heaven"

"Where's heaven"

"Ummm? (insert uncomfortable chuckle) Way up in the sky above the clouds"

"Will we see her when we die?"

"I believe we will"

This is an abbreviated version of the conversation as it continued on for almost an entire 30 minute car ride. 30 minutes of question like...why do people die?...when will we die?....what happens when we die?....will we see God when we die?....who will be my mommy when you die?....ugh....

My daughter is obsessed with the topic of death and dieing. I think it may be a phase as I've heard other parents say the same about their own kids who are roughly the same age. She wants to talk about it ALL. THE. TIME. Heaven is such an abstract concept and difficult for even adults to do you explain Heaven to a five year old? It makes me desperately uncomfortable because I don't know how to answer her little five year old self.

This conversation reminded me that my daughter is almost exactly the same age I was when my Dad passed away. I also remember shortly after he died my Mom took me and my brother (along with other family members) on a trip to California. While in the plane, (I remember this like it was yesterday) I was looking out the window and in awe at how beautiful it was above the clouds. I remember asking my mom "Is this Heaven?" I remember her chuckling a little...the way adults do when they are perhaps a little uncomfortable with answering a child's question....and she said "yes." I remember looking around at all the clouds bright with the reflection of the sun and then asking "then where's daddy?"

I have only a few scattered memories of my dad.

1) I remember when he was sick my parents chose to prepare me for the inevitable. I remember them telling me that "daddy was sick but the doctors couldn't find the right needle to make him better." He didn't LOOK sick to me. I remember him coming home one day....I'm not sure if he was coming home from work or the doctors or somewhere else....but I remember when he walked through the door asking him "did the doctors find the right needle yet." I remember he kind-of chuckled and said "no." The funny thing about that is I believed that story all the way up until my tween years. I remember being in the car with my mom one day when I was somewhere between the ages of 10 & 12 and saying "mom, if the doctors lost the needle to help dad then can't you sue them or something?" I wasn't the brightest child. That was the first time she explained to me that they had told me that story because how else do you explain to a five year old that daddy is dieing. I was only five and wouldn't understand words like leukemia, chemotherapy, prognosis....

2) I remember sitting on the floor with my Dad and younger brother and rolling a ball back and forth between the three of us.

3) I remember standing in front of my Dad while he sat on the floor in our front room. I thought he was making funny faces at me and I ran away laughing. I over heard him ask my mom "what is she laughing at?" and my mom saying "you were biting the inside of your cheek and I think she thinks you were making funny faces at her." I wonder if cheek biting is hereditary because I habitually bite the inside of my cheek.

4) I remember going on a helicopter ride with just me and my dad. Someone (I can't remember who) when I was younger said that there was no way I went on a helicopter ride with my Dad....because helicopter rides aren't done...or not allowed....or something of that nature. I thought it was my mom that told me that but I was wrong. So this person had me believing that this memory was dreamed up. I never discussed this memory with my mom until a few years ago. I said "I don't care what anyone says...I REMEMBER being in a helicopter or a small plane with just me and dad." She confirmed my memory. She told me that YES he did....he set up this private helicopter or small plane ride after he was diagnosed and he wanted me to remember that helicopter ride. I wasn't crazy after all. I remember trying to stand on the seat because I was too short to see out the window....I remember him pointing down and saying "LOOK, there's our house".....but there were 100s of houses and I couldn't figure out how he could possibly tell which one was ours. I remember being disappointed because he made me sit down.

5) I remember I had gotten in trouble for something and was sent to my room. I remember my dad walking in my bedroom after awhile and I pretended to be asleep. I remember him sitting on the edge of my bed and stroking my hair in silence for several minutes before walking out again to let me "sleep."

6) I remember being at someone's house....a friend of my dad's....possibly his boss?....or a co-worker?.....and I remember them sitting me on top of a unicycle (which felt like it was 6 feet tall) and trying to teach me how to ride it.

7) I remember the day I got my ears pierced...I had just turned 5....and I remember being very excited to come home to show my dad.

8) I remember one night my dad was laying on the couch and he said "Mama Smurf (I guess it would have been baby smurf back then), will you do me a favor" with a very serious tone....I, of course, eager to please said "yes"......"will you please go to the bathroom for me cause I really have to go". I walked half way to the bathroom before I realized that he was just kidding.

9) I remember what I THINK was the last time I saw my dad. He was at the hospital. In a hospital bed. With an oxygen nasal cannula in his nose. I remember that it was a very short visit. I remember that he looked sick. This was the only time I remember seeing him LOOK sick. I remember being disappointed that we had to leave and I remember being disappointed and hurt because I was told that I couldn't kiss his face goodbye. I could only kiss his hand. Now the nurse in me realizes that he was probably on neutropenic precautions....but my 5 year old self didn't know that at the time.

10) I remember the day he died. I remember a house full of family members (my Dad was the oldest of 8) and I remember my mom pulling me into my bedroom, shutting the door, and sitting next to me on my bed. The room was dark. The shades on the window were pulled down. She explained that daddy was in heaven. I remember walking out of the room and into the bathroom to dry the tears. I remember walking into the front room to a room full of questioning eyes.

11) I remember the funeral home. I remember sitting on my mom's lap crying with my brother. I also remember being in a sitting room in the funeral home playing on the floor with other kids and laughing.

And that is literally the entire list of EVERYthing I remember. 11 random memories. That's it.

So, looking at my 5 1/2 year old daughter today...I can't help but wonder what she will remember about these days of her life. This 5th year of her life. I guess that sounds a little morbid. But that's why I write this blog. To record not only memories for my kids to look back on and laugh about in the future but to record who I am.

I've heard people criticize bloggers as being narcissistic. And maybe it is narcissistic to constantly be talking about myself and my family. Maybe I am slightly narcissistic. There....I said it.

But I remember snooping around my parents' bedroom one day as a teenager and coming across my Dad's diary that he kept while he was in Vietnam. There were only a hand full of entries in that diary..... but to read my Dad's writing and see his sense of humor and get a glimpse of the man he was through the words he wrote was like a treasure to me.

I'm not a writer. I have no aspirations to be a writer. I'm sure the writers in this bloggy world cringe at my grammar and punctuation mistakes and my misspelled words. I'm sure the perfect wholesome church going mothers cringe at my foul mouth and sometimes inappropriate stories. And I'm OK with that. This is who I am. I don't let my kids read my blog right now. Obviously. But one day when they are adults and have kids of there own I hope they will. Or maybe my Great Grandkids will sit down with my kids one day the way I have with my Grandmother and learn about this family through my little blog entries.

So what does my teenage drama and my random memories and my daughter's obsession with death and my reasons for blogging have to do with each other?? I have absolutely no fucking idea and now that I've ranted on and on about all this drivelling (is that a word? is now!) nonsense I'm reading it over and realizing that I've gone on and on about a bunch of shit that has only loose (at best) connection with each other. But then that's what hormones do to me. They turn me into a hormonal emotional irrational mess. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the hormones and more to do with the red wine I've been sucking down. Did I mention my husband is out of town. Yeah. He's out of town.


Dudes...for those of you who have stuck it out and read this entire rediculously long rock....(add a double tapping fist to chest peace out sign)....


Mama Zen said...

Oh, hell. I'm so sorry about the loss of your Dad. I can't even imagine what that must have been like.

Our daughters are about the same age, and my daughter has been going through a rather morbid fascination with death, too. Glad it's not just going on at my house!

Melissa said...

First, I am so sorry about your dad. You wrote a beautiful post which brought tears to my eyes. We just had a death in the family that I had to explain to my 6 year old. That was a hard conversation.

I choose to think of blogging as my online diary. My whole purpose is to capture all those memories for my kids that they are too young to remember. And if I make some friends along the way thats cool too! Love your blog by the way!

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I read every word. Your story has always been one of my fears. Losing a parent or having my children lose one of their parents. And it is precisely why I blog. I am no writer. And I don't aspire to be. But the women in my family seem to be dying a lot lately and in the event that I'm next, well, I just want something for my kids to hold on to.

Our blogs are an honest prtrayal of who we are. And you just go right on blogging your little heart out. Because it makes you happy.

Big hug.

Kelly said...

OMG Tammy if I didn't love you I would kill you right now!!! I had a minor pregnancy melt down yesterday before I left for work. Now I am bawling AGAIN. This is my absolute favorite post from you though, even if it did make me cry. And gf, when do you have time to blog when you go to bed so early? I have about given up on this... and I never have anything quite good enough to say anyway.

Tracey said...

SO, sorry for the loss of your Dad, I can't imagine. You are a writer and I love reading you every day. You are doing great at capturing the memories. Best of luck. Tomorrow will be a better day. YOUR DADDY IS LOOKING DOWN ON YOU VERY PROUD!!!

Anonymous said...

I've never posted a comment here, but I enjoy reading your posts so much...First off, I'm sorry about your dad. I have a 7 year old who I think is a little too comfortable w/ death..he accepts it because he's not afraid, which I can't even say for myself! Anyways I love your blog you remind me of me (even the naughtiness)and I wish I could Blog, but I don't know...maybe soon! Well this was a great post, and I love how you just write what you feel...

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

Awww Tammy! I'm so sorry you've had such sadness in your life, but I'm SO glad you've made the decision to not dwell on it any longer. Your dad certainly wouldn't have wanted that, from the sounds of it.

I almost lost my dad when I was 11 and I've often wondered what life would have been like if I had. I suspect it wouldn't have been half as good.

Don't be too hard on yourself about remembering, or having "those thoughts" come back. I think it's natural for them to creep back occasionally, and as long as you don't allow them to take over completely, it's probably healthy. Feeling sad just means that you loved him and that he was important to you. And those are positive things! It's good to remember the positive things in our lives.

So cut yourself some slack and allow yourself some tears. It's good to let them out. And then tomorrow, you'll tuck those memories away and move on to making some happy ones with your own kids.

I'm sending you a big hug!

common mom said...

So sorry about you having to grow up without your father. I have been so very fortunate!

Ya know, I don't really know why I blog. But almost every day I feel like I HAVE to blog. Maybe it's me feeling like I want to keep my family updated on what we're doing (we live 1000 miles away from all of our family). Maybe it's may way of journaling, even though each of my kids has at least one entire scrapbook for every year of their lives so far. Ultimately, I think it's my way of talking to "adults" when hubby is gone flying and I've spent 8 days as a single mother.

Everybody has their own reasons for blogging . . . and all of those reasons are valid.

Keep blogging because I love reading your posts!

Happy2bme said...

Its so interesting what you learn about people by reading blogs. Especially to learn that your child is so much like any other 5 year old out there. My son, like your daughter is very inquisitive about death and heaven.

Ever since our Beagle had to be put down two years ago he has been obsessed with heaven. I used to have a hard time explaining it because I questioned heaven and after life myself. But, it is good to let them know that there is an everlasting place for our loved ones and animals when they die.

My heart goes out to you for losing your father at such a young age. He would be so proud of the person you are today and the mother that you are to your kids.

He would LOVE your blog too...haha

I know its off subject but are you still hosting MFMM?

Christy said...

I am so sorry to hear about your father. That is such a tough thing for a little girl to handle. And I definitely think it is okay to feel a little melancholy sometimes.

Bahama Mama said...

I read your whole post and it made me cry. I'm feeling very hormonal too! I haven't been out there reading blogs for few weeks because I haven't had time but your post made me remember why I love to visit with my bloggy friends. Your post wasn't rambling it made total sense and writing for your kids is awesome. I'll have a glass of wine on your honor tonight - only mine will be white. You can sit with me in Spirit on our patio looking at a most spetacular version of Heaven (you should see our stars) and we'll drink away our hormones :-)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, right from your heart. Your blog is for you to do whatever you want, I can't be doing with people who knock others because they enjoy something. I'll definitely be back to read more.

I lost my Mum 13 years ago. Fortunately my eldest was just two years old so too young to remember much, although sometimes he says something that proves he has some memories of his nana even at that age.

Leslie said...

That was a very touching post. I couldn't even imagine having to go through what you have been through. I'm sorry you lost your father at such a young age. I too agree with the others about your blog. It's awesome, and who cares what anyone else thinks? You are doing it for your reasons. And that's good enough. Your post made complete sense to me too, and I read straight through. I'm going in to my fridge right now to find some red wine. I'm sure your dad would be very proud of you!(((hugs)))

EatPlayLove said...

I can tell your words just needed to be said, put down, released from your mind. Thank you for sharing.

My dad recently had a health scare (like last week) and one of the first things I thought of was my girls, remembering their papa. If they even would remember him. My oldest is about to be 5 in Sept.

Oh and about losing your doggie, google rainbow bridge sometime, that's where our doggie went.

Breanne Vasquez said...

I am so sorry taht you lost your Dad at such a young age. That must have been horrible for you. Awesomw that you were able to overcome. The memories are great and don't feel bad for them. it was so sweet it just meade me tear up.

I think all kids go through that stage and it is gre4at that you are willing to talk about it with her. that will help her so much.

Marni's Organized Mess said...

I didn't even know. Wow. I am glad you wrote this and I, for one, could care less when you are pouring your heart out about your grammar. Just sayin...

Mamasphere said...

I feel so touched to have read your post. I think you're doing a wonderful thing, writing so your children can remember.

Chelle said...

I am so sorry about your loss. This post was beautiful. The memories you have are very touching. I started crying when I read number five and I continued through the end.
Thank you for sharing all of your special memories. It means a lot that you would openly share them

LittlePaintedPolkaDots said...

Holy crap Tammy. You have me in a freaking hysterical cryfest fit. I can barely see through my tears and my nose is running like mad (gross, but true.) I too am hormonal and J is out of town :( I am so sorry. This post just breaks my heart.

mom2natnkatncj said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your dad at such a young age. That must have been difficult. I think this was a very well put together entry though. I too think this is going to be kind of nice for my kids to see what I was thinking when they were younger. I was never good at keeping a diary, but somehow I'm better at blogging. Perhaps because I don't really do well with keeping secrets. Well, I can keep other people's secrets if they ask me to, but I tend to enjoy sharing my thoughts and you can't really do that in a diary. I like the validation in comments I get on here ;).

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad for the little girl and teenager you described. Glad you found your way. You're post was very touching and I'm sorry about your loss.
Here by way of POW.

JMBMOMMY said...

Wow. I enjoyed reading this so much. But-yeah, I cried too! It was sweet tears. :)

Colleen said...

Honey, it all made perfect sense to me. This was a lovely post - long or not. Its sad you only have those 11 memories of your Dad, but he sounds like he was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. We all need a little melancholy every now and then.

((e-hugs to you!))