The Day Before – I Miss My Dad

For the last 34 years, the day before Thanksgiving has been very tough, making the rest of the holiday season a rough one. In 1975 I had Wednesday off from the school district – never happened since…I was able to fly to Ohio a day early for Thanksgiving vacation. I had dinner with my dad, and on Wednesday my mom and I were out shopping and stopped for lunch – at the same restaurant my dad was eating lunch. We joked around and Dad went back to work. Two hours later he had a massive heart attack at the office and died. He was 49.

The day before Thanksgiving is always filled with him. Some years it’s easier than others. He went so quickly, but I had been able to see him before he died. Along with his death is one of the additional hard things I have had to deal with – my obedience and fear of my mother. My brother was scheduled to fly in with his fiance that Wednesday night. My mother instructed me to go pick him up and not say a word about my Dad until he was home and she could talk to him.

Quite a difficult task for Daddy’s girl – ignore the fact that the most important person in her life had just died so my brother would have an easier time of it. I was always obedient, so I did what I was told – plus I was afraid I wouldn’t be loved any more if I disobeyed (yeah, lots of baggage to carry around, even then…).

We got back to the house and walked inside to a house full of people. My brother wanted to know what was going on. My mother then said “You didn’t tell him?” I was a really lousy daughter….

For some reason this year is going to be particularly difficult. Maybe it’s my own realization of mortality, maybe it’s the fact that my mother died in August – don’t know. But I find as I grow into more of a unique person, I miss my dad even more. There were so many things he never saw and I could never share – with a parent still alive who didn’t care. I was talking one time about our upcoming gallery show in Scottsdale and her comment was “Whatever.”

Whoa – didn’t think there was this much in me for so early a morning. Maybe it’s finally time for all this to get out of me – the “good daughter” child of an alcoholic.

Sorry for burdening everyone – but my cyber friends are very much family to me, and evidently this had to get out. I will be spending tomorrow with friends from Sedona at a 60-person gathering with our second family here in Tucson. People I really care about who make the day special, and for that I am really thankful.

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