It's been 10 years - no, it doesn't get easier...

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  1. moparedtn

    moparedtn Ed on the Ridge FBBO Gold Member

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    (This is one of my "journal" writings I do occasionally on here; it doesn't
    concern anything to do with cars, so apologies in advance and I'll understand
    if you decide to just move on to another thread. :) )


    pop opens country club 1995.jpg
    (My Pop in 1995 at about 60 years old)

    Christmas was forever altered for me 10 years ago today, when my dad "Pop"
    passed on early in the morning that Christmas Day...
    he had battled cancers in several different parts of his body for the previous
    decade and it had taken a humble but stout man down, a little at a time.

    In the end, it had spread so that they had to "scattergun" treatments to attack
    it, but it became apparent after all those years that it would eventually get the
    better of him.
    He suffered from bouts of normal afflictions that we all sometimes get, only
    more so because of his weakened state - such as pneumonia, which nailed him
    often.

    (Now, this is the part of the story that haunts me to this day - I vividly relive these
    following moments in dreams from time to time to this day)

    It was just such a case that found him in the ICU for some days before the end,
    where I had gone to check up on him as was the case so often as to have become
    almost routine...
    As the nurses and such scurried around him, making provisions for him to go home,
    I arrived with my wife - but this time I also had my older sister in tow, too.
    (She and Pop had some sort of feud going back decades and she lived 5 hours away,
    so she hadn't managed to come see him in a long time...)

    Pops' then wife (whom I referred to as my "wicked stepmother" - insert your own
    reasons why here) was in the room too, but when he saw me, he shooed everyone
    out of the room and motioned for me to come in.
    I started to bring my sister with me, but he shook off that notion and pointed for me
    only, so in I went....alone.
    He and I had been sparring a bit over something recently too, so I had my own
    reckoning to deal with as well - as proud as Pop was, he could also also mule
    stubborn, too.

    In my usual greeting, I faked like everything was normal and said "hey Pop, you
    about done milking all this attention?" or something silly and light-hearted like that.
    I had always LIVED to make my dad laugh since I can remember....
    but that was not to be this time.
    Not so much as a smile crossed his face...
    Instead, he glared at me with an intensity I'd only rarely seen when I was about to
    get lit up as a kid - and he motioned me closer, so he could whisper.
    I instantly knew things were different, sudden...and what we hadn't expected to happen
    for some time to come was actually happening now - right the fluck NOW.

    "Hey Pop....are we ok?" I asked sheepishly.
    He gave me a determined stare, all business - and said "we're fine.
    Now - listen to me.... make them stop."
    I stepped back a bit and said "come on Pop, you know the routine - they got to get
    you all ready to go home and get all the equipment and stuff ready to go."
    I was hoping that he was just fussing about all the bother....
    He wasn't.
    Again, slower and more intensely he says it again while boring a hole in me with his
    stare: "make.....them....STOP."
    Awww dammit, Pop.
    Dammit all to hell....

    I silently nod that I understood his request and when any of the others tried to go
    in to the room, I stopped them as I came out the door.
    Evil stepmother tried to push her way past and although I had let her have her way
    a hundred times before with Pop, that wasn't happening right then.
    I looked her dead in the eye while she squirmed like a petulent child in my hands
    and said "he's done. Leave him be."
    I came out of there, told my sister that her feud was over and if she ever wanted
    to say anything to him again, she best get to steppin' right then and there.
    She chose to stay in the hallway and observe - because she had some Pop in her,
    too.
    Her loss.
    That was Christmas Eve - and when word came up the ridge the next morning that
    he had passed sometime before 6am, I told whoever called that I knew already, but
    thanks...because I did.

    You know, I've had to put up with a few folks over the years making comments about
    how Pop "chose" Christmas Day to leave us - including that sawed-off little evil
    stepmother, who SWORE he did it "on purpose" to ruin Christmas for all of us.
    Oy...
    If anything, when he comes to me in dreams to this day, I prefer to think of it as my
    Pop having a little chuckle about the whole thing.
    He always had that dry wit, that twinkle and wink in his eye as he was pulling
    someones' leg, having a little fun at their expense.

    I didn't always do right with Pop and I know I disappointed him more than once in
    this life, as I went through those teen years and probably sometimes after.
    But you want to get right down to it?
    He's always been my hero.
    I've never known a more honest man in my life - a more fair man, a more firm
    man and a smarter man than any I've ever met.
    In the end, all I wanted to know was whether I had made amends with him.
    I think I did?
    Anyways, it pops up every year and Christmas is pretty different for me than for
    most - and that's ok, too. I can mime normalcy during holidays for others' benefit,
    too....just like he would.

    Y'all hug everyone you love extra hard tonight, please.
    For me. For Pop.
    Ok?
     
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    • khryslerkid

      khryslerkid FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Lost my Father two days before Christmas. Sure is a different time of year to loose someone. That's all I got to say.
       
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      • 440Coronet500

        440Coronet500 Well-Known Member

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        He called on you when he reached his end. That alone should tell you everything you need to know. Very sorry for your loss, it's very hard to lose someone you Love and respect. 440'
         
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        • dadsbee

          dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          I hear yah Ed, my Father fell off his kitchen chair on Christmas day while waiting for the Bird to be cooked. I picked him up, put a shirt on him and threw him in my Ramcharger and up the street we went to the hospital before Mom even knew we were gone. I called her from the Hospital. Christmas 1985 and he was 4 months shy of 59 (just like I am sitting here today).
           
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          • moparedtn

            moparedtn Ed on the Ridge FBBO Gold Member

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            Right there with ya - and in my case, apparently following in footsteps...
             
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            • dadsbee

              dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              My goal is to beat his time frame... I'm about 8 hours ahead of him now! :thumbsup:

              Be well !
               
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              • satilite73

                satilite73 Well-Known Member

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                "You know, I've had to put up with a few folks over the years making comments about
                how Pop "chose" Christmas Day to leave us - including that sawed-off little evil
                stepmother, who SWORE he did it "on purpose" to ruin Christmas for all of us.
                "

                While my story isn't Christmas related, this part resonated with me. I won't go into the back story right now (but if you visit Moparts you may have seen it), but my Dad disliked my wife (now EX wife). I wouldn't go so far to say he hated her, but the dislike was very apparent. He had Parkinson's BAD. He got tired of dealing with it, and had basically given up, ending up in a nursing home.

                We had 1400 miles between us, so I called him often. The last conversation we had, he told me I needed to stop worrying about him and go do something else, try to have fun. I mentioned that my Wife's birthday was coming up and we were thinking about going up to stay in a cabin her Uncle owned. What struck me as odd, even then, he asked a LOT of questions regarding our little cabin trip. "When are you going?" "How far is it?" "When do you think you'll get there?" were some of the questions he asked.

                On her birthday, we went to the cabin. We had been there maybe a half hour, and I got the call he passed. We had gotten there pretty late, but at my insistence, we promptly went straight back home.

                There is NO WAY it was mere coincidence that he passed when he did.

                That was 8 years ago. From time to time he lets me know he's still around

                Not sure when exactly this pic was taken but, my Dad has the Santa hat on. The guy with antlers is one of his step daughter's husband.

                SljyC7g.jpg
                 
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                • F4R/T

                  F4R/T Well-Known Member

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                  Sorry for your loss. Dads are special and I don’t really know what to say... speechless ..
                   
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                  • 1 Wild R/T

                    1 Wild R/T FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Christmas is rough for some of us, Lost my mom Dec 25th 1984...
                     
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                    • 1967coronet

                      1967coronet FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                      Sorry to any of you who lost a family member on a holiday.
                      Its tuff any day of the year but I feel for you that have had that happen.
                      My grandpa passed on my son's bithday when he was turning 6 .
                       
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                      • myk r sanchez

                        myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                        It never ends, you don't ever, truly get over it. Mom commit suicide back in '98; I think part of me still lives like its still that fateful summer...
                         
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                        • Xp29h

                          Xp29h FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                          Thank you for posting! That brought a lot of stuff rushing back that I didn’t expect.

                          Lost my dad at the end of November 1987. He was 48. Cancer.. awful crap for sure. It wasn’t right next to Christmas but certainly for us, close enough because we were still AFU. He was sick for close to a year and in some ways I was relieved for him. But, I too had the wicked “stepmother” ...oh wait. No, she was my real mother! Things are better with her now. She was into the wine quite heavy in those days and even before he got sick. She was a nasty drunk and we did not see eye to eye on just about everything!

                          As the cancer got worse and operations and chemo lingered, it was getting to that point. I was still playing hockey at the time and had a game that night. As I packed my gear in the truck, I had a very weird feeling. I had just come from the hospital and he was so drugged with morphine, he had no clue and pretty much unresponsive. But because of that feeling, I decided I’d better go back before heading to the game. I walked in and in about 30 later seconds he was gone. That one gets me to this day. I am so glad I went back to be there.

                          The one thing that I found to be comforting (after a while) was no matter how different all of our lives are, they are in many ways the same. We as humans all go through the same things, just how we get there can be different, maybe. That’s tough to remember sometimes.. We’re not in this alone and people have and will endure the horrible aspects in life and it is truly what makes us stronger and who we are! Even though I have a hard time remembering what the hell I did yesterday, (lol) I never want to forget those moments.

                          I certainly would not be who I am today without him! Even though my daughter never knew him, she would not be who she is today without him! For me, those are the positive things that I hang onto.

                          When we lose a parent like these ones, it does make one think of your own mortality. Will I make it beyond the years? 48 was rougher for me. It brought back all kinds of stuff.. now, I’m 8 years beyond and it is something one thinks (thought) about! Natural, I guess..

                          Ed, thanks for sharing and everyone else too!
                           
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                          • Richard Cranium

                            Richard Cranium FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                            Very touching story Ed. I lost my dad late in the evening of July 3rd, 2008, so as you can imagine, the 4th of July that year was not very festive, to say the least. My mom on June 29, 2013 & the few days before the 4th of July is always a somber time for me.
                             
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                            • turbine68rt

                              turbine68rt Turbine Bronze Member FBBO Gold Member

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                              "That was 8 years ago. From time to time he lets me know he's still around."

                              I can really relate to that one. Been 14 years and had plenty of situations where I can tell he is definitely looking out for me. Some comical, some things beyond coincidence. We buried him on his 70th birthday. (Cancer) You're right Ed, it never gets easier. It's just one big void that never gets filled.
                               
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                              • satilite73

                                satilite73 Well-Known Member

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                                When I'm home, I listen to music thru 'iheart radio' so I don't have to deal with the endless commercials on regular radio (I mention this only because you'll hear music on there you won't hear on local radio)

                                Early last year, feeling pretty low due to divorce and unemployment, I had had a dream with my Father in it. Nothing significant, it was like a 'day in the life' moment of us when I used to hang out with him.

                                I got up, turned on some music, and this was the first song that played. I had never heard this song before that moment. Coincidence? Doubt it. Still can't listen to it without tearing up.



                                (lyric video because I think the official video kinda sucks)
                                 
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                                • wagonwedge330

                                  wagonwedge330 Well-Known Member

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                                  My dad didn’t leave during Christmas, but his last Christmas on earth was spent in the hospital. In fact, he would never leave the hospital this time, it would only be a couple months he was gone. The biggest regret in my life, that haunts me everyday is the fact I couldn’t take him home to spend his last days, The drs said he wouldn’t make the 20 min trip. I am thankful
                                  I’m fortunate, lucky, etc, whatever you want to call it, I didn’t have the usual father / son struggles...yeah I got in trouble, mostly racing at the state line, but I’m so very thankful for a close relationship with my dad.
                                   
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                                  • Hey-O

                                    Hey-O FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                    I've lost so much it takes my breath away sometimes. Many were in December, so as many have already said, It's not the same. God bless all of you.
                                     
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                                    • alfaitalia

                                      alfaitalia FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                      Thanks for sharing...My boss colapsed and died of cancer Xmad day 2019....so a year ago. His wife and son will probably never celebrate Christmas day the same again.
                                       
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                                      • moparedtn

                                        moparedtn Ed on the Ridge FBBO Gold Member

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                                        Thank you all so much for your replies, wishes, stories....maybe that's why I felt the need to tell the story
                                        here? I don't know, but it can't hurt for folks to tell their stories sometimes I think.
                                        Yeah, that was the weirdest, hardest winter ever... and it got harder still, if you can imagine!

                                        My wife and I had three dogs here at the time, all rescues or strays that made their way up the ridge over
                                        the years:

                                        - Shorty the beagle wandered up here one day after being thrown out by someone down at the
                                        highway and had been here for close to 15 years since (we found out soon after he showed up that he
                                        hated the sound of gunfire, probably why some redneck pitched him out to begin with).

                                        - Lady the border collie showed up one morning, brought up here by Shorty on one of his early morning
                                        rounds after herself being pitched out on the highway in the middle of the night.
                                        Amazingly smart dog, but extremely skittish around people for several months (she first trusted my wife
                                        to get close enough to her to read her tags six months later - and we found out she came all the way from
                                        Knoxville, an hour and a half away!). It was obvious she'd been beaten by a male, so it took her a while
                                        longer to trust me, but she did eventually.
                                        She had been here well over a decade, more like 12-13 years and was a great early warning system for
                                        the property.

                                        - Lil Bit was some sort of mutt mix, a little 12 pound blonde sort of thing with some serious health issues
                                        that my wife's co-worker was going to put down because of it, even though he was still quite young.
                                        Well, you can guess how that turned out...he too wound up out here and spent many years showing us
                                        his great personality, to the point of being all the guard dog his tiny little frame could muster.

                                        That winter that my dad died, that wasn't the end of loss up here though...
                                        One after the other, all the pups started leaving us, too. Lil Bit got so sick that it became evident it was
                                        actually cruel to keep spending all that time and money with him in hospitals and such, so after all those
                                        years, it came time to have him euthanized in early January.
                                        Just a week later, I found Lady on the porch one morning - and she too, had laid down for the last time...
                                        Finally Shorty, the poor guy, too had enough and at his age, his body gave out as well.

                                        Within a couple weeks, I found myself without a father and with all my furry family gone, too.
                                        It all happened so suddenly...I really got in a bad funk about it.
                                        About a month passed and I just went through the motions of life, kinda numb.

                                        My wife caught me staring at her one morning and asked what I was doing.
                                        She'd been here for me, but had been giving me space as I tried to deal with all the loss in my typical
                                        headstrong, withdrawn redneck sort of way...
                                        I asked her if she felt all right and that was the end of that, though!
                                        She got downright pissed off at me and announced that she was going to the animal shelter.
                                        I had already told her I was done with all that, that I couldn't "do" anymore rescues, didn't have it in
                                        me anymore - but when she went anyways, I tagged along just to make sure she didn't do anything
                                        "foolish".
                                        Yep, you guessed it....
                                        That was when Sasha picked me out at the shelter.
                                        10649864_861706487175574_4990965568172702580_n.jpg
                                        She's been keeping me honest ever since. :)
                                         
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                                        • Scott Engelhardt

                                          Scott Engelhardt FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                          This is just my two cents, but sometimes people know the fight is over, and maybe he thought the best time to leave was on the day Christ was born.
                                          My mother in law told me over and over that she was ready to go. The night before she died she told us she did not feel right. I asked what was wrong and she said I just feel like I am dying. She passed the next morning.
                                           
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