Sunday, June 18, 2017

You Don't Mess Around With...Godzilla?

Death is a fact of life. Eventually, it's going to come to all of us. But even knowing this to be a fact, we're rarely prepared to lose a parent. Somewhere in the back of our minds, we just can't accept that they won't always be there, taking care of us.

I was more dependent than most on my parents. They were always there to clean up the messes I made--some of them big messes. While Mom was the comforter, the optimist, Dad was the pragmatist, my reality check. If I was BSing him, he'd call me on it--and somehow he almost always knew.

I guess that came from the harsh realities of his early years: discovering at fourteen that his mother had died when he was a baby (ruled a suicide, but there were rumors that her husband had killed her while drunk)...having a father and a stepmother who weren't loving parents...leaving home, being on his own for a time before finding a home with his maternal grandmother...and a failed marriage.

Dad was mercurial. He could be fun, protective, committed--but there were also times he was dark and moody, not wanting to talk to anyone. He could be stubborn and childish at times. (Mom said that was why Dad and I so often butted heads--we were too much alike.)




I don't have too many photos. Dad didn't like having his picture taken.

Maybe she was right--to an extent. We both had tempers, but we were like faucets. Mine ran hot, blowing like an angry volcano. Dad's was cold. He rarely argued, instead retreating into a chilling silence.

But not always. I remember one incident in particular...I was a teenager at the time. Dad bought a dump truck (he designed and built houses, usually doing everything himself). Our next door neighbor at the time had volunteered the use of the truck to her church--without asking Dad if he was okay with that. (It's a long story.) Dad put the brakes on that, and the neighbor was furious. One Saturday, Mom went out, taking Dad's pickup instead of her own car. The neighbor must have thought Dad was gone and Mom would be alone and an easier target for her anger. I was in the living room, watching TV when that clearly suicidal redhead came storming into our house, not bothering to knock. She headed for the kitchen. From the sound of things, Godzilla must have been in there. It was like watching a film in reverse. She backed out of the kitchen, through the dining room, through the living room, out the front door, with Dad following, as angry as I've ever seen him.

It was fun to watch.

Dad had a great sense of humor. I learned some of my best pranks from him. There were some, though, that even I wouldn't try.

He's been gone twenty-six years now. He had a premonition of his own death in great detail...and it happened exactly as he predicted. I think that was God's way of telling Dad to get his affairs in order, to get right with Him, before it was too late. I hope he did.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Wish you and Mom were here. There's a wrestling event tonight, right here in St. Louis. You would have loved that!


10 comments:

  1. A wonderful tribute to him, Norma!

    I think in some ways I could have related to him.

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    1. I think you could. You're like him in many ways.

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  2. I also inherited my sense of humor from my dad. Your book, translated to "Daddy's Girl" caught my eye resulting in our online friendship. Happy Father's Day! 😎

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    1. I was a Daddy's Girl when I was little. When I was older, I was his Problem Child!

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  3. Most interesting. I think a lot of people could relate to your relationship with your dad. When I did something that displeased my dad (which was often), he became mopey and sad because he couldn't believe his son would treat him this way, even when what I did had no real impact on him at all...eventually, he got so where he couldn't function and spent a couple of months undergoing shock treatments. He came through that quite well and in his later years we were able to reconcile, at least informally.

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    1. I thought about doing a pair of nonfiction books: stories about fathers and stories about mothers. I might still do that.

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  4. Lovely post today.
    You were very lucky to have such a wonderful Father. I love the Godzilla story. You are very lucky to have such wonderful memories.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. The worst part, Gayle, is that I didn't realize how blessed I was until I lost both Mom and Dad.

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  5. Lovely tribute to your dad Norma, sounds like he was quite a guy. It's even scarier for us thinking about leaving our kids behind don't you think Norma? How is everything going with you since the MRI?

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    1. It does, indeed! I worry more about Collin than about myself.

      I told him if there are more strokes, if I end up as disabled as my mom was, he should not try to take care of me at home, and he should not feel guilty about putting me in a nursing home. We kept Mom home as long as we could, and I still feel guilty about sending her when we did.

      Dad used to say if he became disabled so that he couldn't do things for himself, he wanted to go to a nursing home--but none of us could see him there. He didn't want to be remembered that way.

      Things are about the same since the MRI. I have a Doppler ultrasound of my carotid arteries scheduled for this Friday (I now have a regular weekly date at the hospital!). My doctor wants to see if a blockage is slowing the blood flow to the brain. I've had one before--they're fascinating to watch. I'm hoping they'll let Collin watch, too.

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