Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy

Today is my Dad's Birthday.

I am not sure why I am writing this post and it may be something I take down in a few days. But just maybe someone else will relate, maybe someone else has walked this road.

My Dad died a little over two years ago. My Dad had never spent a night in the hospital until he was 80. My Dad was a very successful business man that was able to retire at 40 and spend the next 40 years following his race horses. He was a very honorable man. Honest and fair were his business trademarks. My Dad was a complicated man. He came from the generation that showing emotion was a sign of weakness. He was very strong in that area. My Dad was always right and always in control. I know lots of facts about him, I just did not really know him. I never heard my Dad pray. I never heard my Dad say "I love you"!
My Dad was diagnosed with cancer on a sad July day a few summers ago and he died a horrible death the following April. He lived 9 months. Nine long months with treatment that was inhumane. He begged me on several occasions to help him die.
My Dad never had a hair out of place (so the picture will show you what cancer did to him). He had no experience with the medical community. He had no idea how to be his own advocate and when I tried to be, he became so angry with me. He was mad at the world.
He totally lost control of his life. And control was the ONE thing that he had for 80 years. Those nine months were some of the hardest of my life. I have never seen a human suffer like he did.
Our relationship was one of the harder things in my life, to put it mildly. I am the oldest of three girls and there is not a doubt in my mind that he liked me least.
I understand that to a degree...I would never let him control me.
But oh how I wanted him to LOVE me, how I wanted his approval. I just plain old wanted him to be proud of me. Occasionally, I would sense that I had made his approval list. I gave him his first grandson and his namesake. I also gave him his only granddaughter. I know he loved them. I have always been a hard worker and I would sense at times that made him proud. He never said it, I just HOPED it. My boy gave the eulogy at his funeral and no boy has ever done a better job. I remember just whispering to myself, "Daddy, I hope that made you proud!" Even as an adult it was a constant longing to know he thought I had worth.
Like I said, it was just complicated at best.
I did see him soften his heart in the last months of his life. I was able to spend nights with him in the hospital near the end, where I really shared my heart with him, but I don't know what people in coma's really hear. I pray that he heard my heart. I pray that he knew that I really did love him. I guess I will always wonder if he really loved me.
Happy Birthday Daddy!

Parker with my Mom and Dad as we celebrated Christmas in a nursing home a few months before he died. He no longer even knew our names.

I don't want to leave this post on a sad note. I married a different kind of man many years ago. Never for one second, have my kids nor have I, not known that their Dad loved us more than life. He is the proudest man I know of his wife and kids and double proud of his grandkids. He shows us and tells us many, many times each day. He is the best.

41 comments:

Leslee said...

Oh my Teresa... I do appreciate you posting this today! I can relate on a few notes, but I think the most on seeing your parent lose a battle with such a debilitating disease as cancer.

I lost my Mom 6 months after her diagnosis at age 66!

It was truly one of THE toughest times in my life.

Find peace in the fact that your Father did hear your heart those final days and that he was very proud of you, but unable to say or show it.

You are an amazing woman and I KNOW that he had a hand in that :-)

Melissa Miller said...

Oh Teresa I am so sorry for your loss and his suffering at the end. May you both have found true peace. I will pray for you and your family. I am sure he loved you more than life.

~Blessings to you, ~Melissa

Grami's girls said...

Teresa my heart is sad reading your post tonight about your dad. But those last few days you spent with him were precious precious times. I remember one time you telling me that you were hoping to share the Jesus Tree with him...you never know what seeds were planted....becky

Mimi said...

Hi Theresa,
I was sad reading your post, but I think writing is so cathartic and healing in so many ways, what we would never dare say we will write and those words come straight from the heart, the fact that your Dad didn't show or say I love you, never meant he didn't, he provided a lovely home for you and your sisters and gave your Mom a stable home life, not a Love life but a house that may have been a home, you lerned alot from this Man, and you became who you are from watching this Man, and you have made a big difference in your own life and family. We are so lucky the next generation grew up feeling so loved. God Loves you and so does your family and for that you should scream from the rooftops, I AM LOVED!!!!!!!
Hugs to you my dear friend!!!
jamie

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Teresa, Thanks for sharing. I'm sure there are many who relate to your story in some way. I think of my father-in-law when you talk about your Daddy. John is almost 97 and has always been in charge and in control of everything around him. Last year, he went blind --so he lost that control and independence that he had always had. It's been a very hard year for my hubby and his brother and sister. Dad is fighting them all to keep that independence--and is not thinking about what he is doing TO them. I love this man very much and he is good to me. But he can be hard to love at times...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure your Daddy loved you and just didn't know how to say it. I'm sure he heard you when you were by his bedside.

God Bless You, Teresa.
Hugs,
Betsy

Deb said...

Teresa,

I know. That he loved you.

He didn't know how to tell you.

Didn't know how to show you.

Wouldn't let you get to know him like a little girl wants to know her daddy.

He was proud of you. And of your son.

I know.

I walked close to where you walked.

The difference between us is that I see your love for him.

And your generosity toward him.

Sweet dreams.

You deserve them.

Channa said...

You are so sweet! I want to tell you something; he heard you!! My granddad also died of cancer but 8 years ago. He was a very health man; walked every day, ate right, never smoked but he was diagnosed with lung cancer right after Christmas in 2000 and died July of 2001. Anyway, many many years before he was diagnosed with cancer, he had a heart attack. He actually "died", he was in the hospital and his heart stop. While they were trying to work on him my mother happen to be in the room. She kept talking to him, telling him how much she loved him and how we all needed him in our lives. (side note, my grandmother, his wife, was diganosed with MS when she was 18 and was bedridden my entire life. She depended on my granddad for life) Anyway, after they brought him back to life and he was better he told my mom he could hear her talking the entire time. He said that he was screaming for her to hear him, letting her know that he could hear her and that he was still there but of course a word was never spoken from him. He was dead but he still heard every word she spoke. He heard you and I know it made a difference in his heart!
Hugs!

monica said...

What a great tribute for your father. I know that he loved you. Cancer is the most awful disease, I am glad that you were able to spend the last months with him, he was able to hear you, and he heard your son speak such wonderful words and he was proud!!
I lost my mom to breast cancer 9 years ago and we never got to say goodbye to her. She died in the hospital because she was too proud to tell us that she was sick. We lived in another town - so didn't see her much. It is one thing that I will always regret - at least you had your father to tell him goodbye. I hope you keep this post up, writing is always a great thing. I have tears in my eyes so I will go now.

Kathy said...

Teresa.... I could have written this post... You are Loved my girl, and you can take that to the bank, xoxo~Kathy~

ethelmaepotter! said...

What a truly touching and heartfelt tribute to the man who gave you life. I do hope you leave this up; your father was not the only man of his generation to life that "superman-ly" lifestyle, and there are others who will be comforted by your words.
I'd be willing to bet that when you get to Heaven, your father will be first in line to great you with open arms and say "I've loved you always."

Heart2Heart said...

Teresa,

I can relate to your experience with your dad. My father is still very much alive and doesn't live more than a couple hours from me. He doesn't at this stage of his life want anything to do with me, his grandkids or even my second hubby he has never met during our entire 15 years we've been together.

He was raised in a family of sisters but with a mom and dad that didn't believe in showing love or emotion so he became a product of that environment.

Throughout my childhood years I came to find out that he was very military trained from my mom and thus believed in the toughening you up approach.

I can honestly say, I can never recall my dad saying he loved me, never telling me he was proud of me, and never telling me he was happy I was his daughter.

His actions throughout my whole life was very discouraging and he never left me feeling like I was worth anything. He always gave me rude comments and told me that I was never good enough, that no man would ever want me and each time, I was sick or had a rash that couldn't be explained away, it was cancer and I was going to die.

This is the reason today, that if I feel there is something wrong with me, I fear the doctor and the cancer word.

I realized much later that there are certain relationships in our lives we can not do anything to bring about a change we would love to see happen.

That is where God brings others into our life to fulfill those needs be it family members or friends.

I trust at this point in my life that God in His timing, if it's His will, will restore that relationship with me. I harbor no ill will towards my father and have completely forgiven him for all the hard feelings I did have for him and allow God to heal my heart.

I personally believe that this post was necessary because it helps connect us and show us that we all go through things in life, that not only make us stronger but brings us together as a body of believers. Whether or not you choose to leave this post up or take it down, I believe it was necessary at least for me.

I got these feelings out and it makes me so relieved to know that there are others out there like me that I can relate to. Thank you for letting that be you!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Teresa, I believe that your dad heard every word and knew that he was loved. Although he could never come out and say, "I love you" you have to know that somehow he did. My dad has never said, "I love you." But he's getting close by letting me know how proud he is of me. Sometimes, the words don't come but the love is there.

I'm so glad that you know and feel the love with your husband and family. That's your treasure!

Ann said...

Thank you for posting this, I can relate to everything you wrote abour. Wishing you peace of heart and mind.

tmm said...

Teresa,

Thanks for your kind words on my not so happy post tonight, I appreciate them so much.

I am also sorry for your loss of your father~~I lost mine 15 years ago to cancer (he was just 50). I know the pain. But, I truly ache more for your longing to know that you were loved and that you were good enough. Just know that as long as you have shown your children you love them and they know you are proud of them, you have stopped the cycle~~~and who couldn't be proud of that!!

Have a great Tuesday. And come back to visit me, I am not always so grumpy:)

Tammy

SarahMerritt said...

Reading this makes me think of my hubby's Grandmother... I loved her so much but near the end of her life I often was worried and scared for her when she would forget who we were or where she was. I also was told by a nurse when my friend Kristin was in the hospital in a coma that they have proof that people in that state can hear you. I hope that comforts you alittle. I know it did me because we lost her a few days later and I was glad I got to spend those few moments telling her how much she ment to me.

Sarah

Theta Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Terri Tiffany said...

I know there are many who read this post will relate--me for one. It brought tears to my eye. Sad for you and the need that never was filled by him and sad for him on what he missed.
I said goodbye to my father last summer. But he's alive in his home alone, my mother moved out after almost 60 years. He is mean spirited and blames me for having him go to a nursing home when he was ill and not wanting him to live alone. I tried hugging him goodbye and he turned away. I doubt I will see him again as I haven't been home in a year. It's hard when the love you hope for doesn't come. But like you, I married a wonderful man and for 32 years, he has been the best father to our daughter than anyone ever could be. And I praise God for that! Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Jennie said...

Just found your blog and am glad you shared this. Sadly, I am sure many people can relate with you on some level. Glad you were able to speak your heart..I am sure your Dad heard. And how wonderful that you have an awesome husband who is now an awesome father. Again, thanks for sharing.

Trasie Bressler said...

My husband had a similar kind of relationship with his dad as far as he never heard his dad tell him that he loved him. His Dad died in a plane crash when my husband was in college. His Mom 3 years later to breast cancer. Never does a day go by that he doesn't tell us that he loves us several times a day, he shows us in more way than one can imagine and I too am so thankful for the husband I married.

I struggle with a relationship with my parents too and the people who suffer the most are my children and that makes my heart break because they are the only grandparents my kids have. So I can relate to your story as well....somedays it's harder than others, but I serve a God who is mighty and he gives us the peace we need to make it through another day.

Many Many Blessings to you,
Trasie

Elizabeth Mullins said...

Teresa, You have a precious heart! Thank you for sharing for many, many people can relate to your story. You are helping others realize that you can be strong and be a good example even though life doesn't go according to YOUR plans. I hope you have a great day!

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

From all of the comments, you surely know how this hit a common cord. Writing isn't only a good way for us to process our life's journey, but it so often helps others do the same. Thank you for your openness in sharing and for sharing some gold nuggets ... that we show love even when we don't feel loved. That new generations can bring new legacies. That our heavenly Daddy is dependable.

Courtney said...

Thank you for sharing and i hope you leave it up as many have noted it strikes a common cord with us all.

My mom passed away when i was 15 of a brain tumor and as she laid in a coma for a week i often wondered if she heard me talking to her. The selfish part of me wish she could have held on longer. She was diagnosed on a Tuesday and passed the following Tuesday so there was not much time to prepare our hearts.

I talked to her everyday and most nights but often dismissed the idea that she could hear me. God i miss her so much. It has been almost 9 years and not a day goes by where i don't ask myself if she is proud of what i have become.

Jillene said...

This was a very heartfelt post. I truely appreciate your honesty. I am sure that he loved you but was probably not able to communicate that. My husbands parents are that way and he is SO not. I am glad that your husband tells you and your children and grandchildren that he loves you--that is so important!!

christy rose said...

We never stop wanting our parents to be proud of us. Every child, no matter how old they are, is a heart longing for unconditional love. Thank God He is the best Father!
What a sweet post Teresa. I am sure you touched many people's hearts with this post.
God Bless,
Christy

Jess said...

This sounds exactly like my grandpa's story...only he wouldn't go to the hospital and we had to care for him at home through the end. I was 16 and living with my grandparents to help with him.

He never once said i love you to any of us....and he never told us he was proud, but you know...

I found comfort that all parents love their children, and even if he never said it....i did my part to let him know how i felt about him. All of us did...

You did your part...

Hope all is well
Love, Jess

whimzie said...

I hope our Abba Father holds you especially close today. I pray that he fills in the gaps that your earthly daddy just couldn't fill.

Much love.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

We can't help but be shaped by our familial beginnings. Our need to be loved by our parents is innate and necessary and part of our understanding about who our God IS. Unfortunately, many children do not receive the affirmation they need while growing up. Some spend the rest of the their lives trying to gain the "blessing" as was so aptly incorporated into the biblical way of doing life.

There is pain here, Teresa, and I think it a wise thing to process it; you have entrusted us with your heart, and I want you to know that my heart aches for you and for all children who haven't known consistent affirmation and love while growing up.

Thankfully, as you said, God gave you a wonderful husband who has amply supplied for you and your children in this area.

I'm sure that your father loved you abundantly; some of them just have so much "stuff" of their own, they don't know how to love effectively. When "control" becomes an issue in any relationship, there are bound to be issues and, subsequently, some long-term results.

peace to your hurting heart this day~elaine

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Thanks to each of you for your shared stories and encouragement.

Misty said...

I'm certain that he was very proud of you. My mom is much like your father - controlling and very unhappy. And I am also the oldest of 3 girls,but my father has chosen not to be a part of our lives since my parents divorced nearly 12 years ago. It's hard knowing that he would rather not be involved with us even though he lives only 30 minutes away from me and only minutes away from my baby sister. I, too, married a very different kind of man than my father and I hear often how much he loves me and more importantly, I SEE and FEEL how much he loves me. While we live a challenging life some days, I am so very truly blessed to live this life. I am so glad that you are also so blessed and that we are both learning from what we have lived! :)

Holly said...

I thank you for sharing this. It shows us all how important it is to tell those close to us, most of all our children, how much we love them.

Bacardi Mama said...

I have no doubt that your dad heard you. I've always heard that hearing is the last sense to leave the body and that people in comas do hear. Your dad was of the generation that made men of stone. Showing any emotion was something they just didn't do. I would say that your dad loved you, but didn't know how to let you know that. I'll keep you in my prayers today.

Ann said...

Thank you for sharing this post!
My grandfather which was like my dad passed away at the age of 72, a little over a year ago from Cancer as well. He was diagnosed and 6 months later he was gone. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss him. I know that he is in heaven and is no longer in pain. That is what gives me comfort.
I see from all your comments many us have experienced a similar loss.
God bless you my dear blogger friend!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Blessings to you on your reflections on this post. This was not an easy post for you to share, but others through their comments have shown that it helped them or they can relate to some of what you experienced. My dad growing up was not one to show a lot of emotion and he did not say I love you easily...actually I can't remember when... until after my mom passed away four yrs ago. Since then, I have tried to call him every night and he actually has been able to say I love you without me saying it first. It seems as if that was how many were raised, esp men... no emotion that they were told or felt would indicate weakness...

Kat said...

Teresa

Thanks for sharing what's in your heart. I know it wasn't easy to put your feelings down. It's so hard for a lot of people to express themselves, especially men.

Hugs!
Kat

The Drama Mama said...

Sweet Teresa, thank you for sharing! I, too, believe that he heard every word! Prayers & HUGS!

Joyce said...

I'm sure there are lots of people out there who can relate to this post. I think your blog is a place to put down thoughts you want to express somehow. We feel what we feel and sometimes writing about those feelings helps us to process them. Thanks for sharing...wishing you peace...Joyce

hope you're not getting this twice...computer went nuts when I went to publish

Nancy Mon said...

I read this post and like so many others connected with so much of this story. Thanks for opening up and sharing. There are days we all need to know, we are not alone in life experiences.


I will be coming to Shreveport tomorrow. Roy's mother died yesterday. He is there now taking care of the business side for her and for his family. We will be making trips that way in the coming months. So maybe we can get together for a cup of coffee or tea.

Again, thanks for sharing this and I like you married a man nothing like my father. What a great gift from God.

COUNTRY MOM said...

Teresa, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you will keep your post on here. It was so sad and touching. I truly believe he loved you. So often times people cannot find the right words to verbalize how they feel. Even our parents. I am so sad for you that your Dad has passed away. My Daddy died 7 years ago. I watched him in the hospital pass away right in front of me. Please take comfort in the fact that you are a great lady and an AWESOME daughter. You are loved and truly respected by so many people. I know you made him proud and that he loved you!!! Please know that and take some comfort with it. Thank You for sharing this Dear Friend, Blessings, Audrey

Penny said...

Don't children always want their parents approval? I'm sure your dad loved you, but couldn't show it. That doesn't reflect on you at all.
My dad and his brother are alcoholics and were abusive to their children. A few years ago, my dad and my uncle on separate occasions, told me how my grandfather (whom I worshiped as a child) used to beat them when they were boys. No excuses for their own behavior, but it was a reason. It really made me step back and no longer take those years of abuse personally. It was never about ME, it was his baggage. Knowing that he'd suffered at the hands of his dad, helped me understand him better.
I know you didn't say your dad was abusive and I'm not implying that. Just swapping "dad stories."
Sharing helps us heal. God bless.
Oh, and I married the opposite of my dad, too. Well, the second time around, I did. =)

Traci said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. It can't have been easy to be so transparent and I really appreciate that you were willing to open up like that. Big hugs to you as you remember!

2 Kids 3 Martinis said...

Hey Teresa,
Wow, that was a very honest and powerful post. Sometimes it feels good just to get those feelings out in a post, doesn't it? I had a very similar situation with my father as well. Lost him almost 8 years ago, so my heart goes out to you.
Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. You have a wonderful place here...I'll be back!
~Kathy at 2 kids 3 martinis