My dad died on last year. I have been thinking about him a lot. I left to see him on 22 October. When I got to see him, he asked if I was close to finishing my degree. I was like, "I can't afford it-- the kids, you know--" He shushed me. "What do you dream of doing?"
I was surrounded by angels of death and felt them there. I said I wanted to be a doctor. I really did want to be a doctor. His doctor came in and he said, "This is my daughter. She is pre-med at the University of _____ at ______." I was in a medical training facility and whenever Dad dozed, someone poked their head in and said, "Hey Tea! Check this out!" His physician had been told that I had a fear of flying and had not left my state in fifteen years-- both facts are true. He was sad that with nine children that I'd seen so little so it seemed that on little errands that interns, nurses, and social workers had, I got to go along to get laundry or eat lunch across the hospital and see something on campus. I was there for a couple of days. I'd been a hospice volunteer and they asked me about death and things of that nature which was all that we had in common.
They knew that I wasn't pre-med as I told them that I'd been out of school for 15 years and was just going back. Still, they showed me around for the time I was there. I miss the 70 degree heat in October. I'd be willing to overcome my flight issues again to go down there! I took care of his horses and fell in love with the American Southwest. My family's home is there in the land of Wyatt Earp and Nellie Cashman and the other legends of the area.
I got home and worked at Wal~Mart as a cashier and it was good for me to get out of the house and be at someone elses' beck and call. I loved some of my coworkers, and the ones I didn't like I called "cow-orkers." They took me as being playful so they didn't mind and I could stand them being my cow-orker friends!
Anyway, I got money for college and decided to finish a degree in social work and take science classes and go into medicine. I can do biology and chemistry-- and I may still lean that direction. For now I am where I need to be. I couldn't take so many "hard" classes and do well enough in pre-reqs with so many kids, anyway.
I am thinking of my dad because of this comic strip. Last year, Jim, the grandfather, had a stroke just a few days before my fatehr did and he was recovering as my dad was dying. Now "Jim" is back in the hospital. The family is grieving the possible death. Jim is trying to communicate with his family. This strip is usually happy, but it is always realistic. The main character in it, the mother, had her daughter April right before I had Peaches. Michael, the eldest son, had his children within days of me giving birth to Roo and Boom-Boom. The family had a sump pump when we needed a sump pump! (How much sump/ would a sump pum sump/ If a sump pump could pump sump?) Seeing Jim in the shape that my dad was in last year is weirder than had he died when my dad did.
My dad and I didn't even get along-- but right now I keep thinking about how we did for those two weeks before he succumbed to the cancer. My mom just called and said that she'd bought my tickets and that I had to leave in eight hours.
We didn't even know it was cancer until I got there and the doctor operated on what was to be a four hour operation and then called us a half hour later and said he closed him up as there was nothing he could do. I really liked him-- I remembered his name from (I think) a Newsweek article back int he eighties after he headed the first team of surgeons to do a liver transplant. His name is really cool, which is why I remembered it. I was a debater in high school and basically memorized everything I read before the internet hit.
Now I am doing English and I love it. I get excited about linguistics and speech fascinates me. The deeper I delve into linguistics, the more I go into history and the psychology of the peoples I am studying. I know my dad just wanted me to finish my degree. He didn't care if I became a doctor or not-- he hated doctors, anyway. He'd gone into medicine but left it because he was in it during M*A*S*H when "everyone wanted to be a Hawkeye." He'd go in to operations and they'd be cracking jokes and he was furious as they were disrespectful toward patients. He was in his thirties then and was an early nontrad, but he refused to conform to it and walked out. (Oddly, as a father, he was full of ridicule to me, but the best people are often jerks in private! Everyone liked him and he was a prince most of the time to non family members-- but he liked us and abused us verbally. It was odd.)
When my dad died, of course all of his money was in his ranch and my mom has it all, but i got what I wanted: his cowboy hats! I have two Stetsons of his.
As of late, I have been having nightmares about his cancer on me. I keep touching my neck and my arms and feeling under the skin. I am not scared of it-- if it ever takes me, the one good thing is that it's fast. I miss the side of him that I liked. The image of him that I have is actually a picture of us when I was my baby Tatiana's age (2) and he was my brother's age. My brother looks just like my dad. He was laughing at what looks like me miming a wall.
Grief is a funny thing. I know that after the official anniversary date of his death, I will let go of it for the most part. The anniversary affect is on me right now.
I'll be more cheerful tomorrow. I have learned a great deal in Russian about history today and cannot wait to share!