Even though some say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, today has been difficult for me to get into the Christmas spirit. Today is the two year date of when my dad passed away and looking back over the past two things, my heart has been missing a section of it.
My dad technically isn’t my real ‘dad’. He was my step dad up until two days before he passed away. In 1996, my then step dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent chemo and radiation and went into remission some time after. Then in 2009, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He again started chemo treatments.
Due to his brain tumor and short term memory issues stemming from that, he was unable to drive. My mom would have to take off of work, drive 25 minutes home to pick him up and take him 25 min back in the direction of her work for his chemo treatments, and then again 25 min back home and back to work. Of course this put a major strain on things but my mom always made things work.
My dad was a very independent man. He wanted to help my mom out so he decided to take the bus to him chemo treatments even though we told him not to due to the memory issues. There were a few times he would get lost in the city and we couldn’t find him.
One day on his way home from chemo after riding the bus, he slipped and fell on the ice hitting his head in the location where his radiation had occurred. A lady had happened to see the incident and called 911. He was awake by the time they got him to the hospital and my mom arrived but had to have surgery due to clotting issues. My mom was able to say how much she loved him and how the kids loved him before going into surgery. My brother and sisters were called and we all dropped everything and made travel arrangements to come home.
When I arrived, he was out of surgery and was improving. The doctors put him on a medicine to medically induce a coma so that his brain swelling would go down. Since they couldn’t keep him on this forever, they needed to take him off a few days later. He was supposed to make a comeback after getting taken off, but he was dying.
The doctors didn’t give him a good outlook. When we knew that he was not going to make it, my little sister and I wanted to be adopted by him. Since my mom works for a law office, the lawyers drafted the paperwork and on Friday at 4:25pm (when the courthouse closed at 4:30) we were adopted even though he wasn’t able to be there in person. We were just solidifying with the state what we had known for a long time…this was our father. There wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom including the judge.
Two days later, while surrounded by friends and family, my dad took his last breath and went home to God. This was the man who even though I wasn’t her ‘real’ daughter, he treated my sister and I like his own when he didn’t have to. He was and will forever be my poppy.
He believed in me through thick and thin. When I wanted to start making cards, he was the first person to buy one for my mom. I framed that dollar and it was the first thing I hung when I was unpacking my craft room here in Italy. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of him and how he was so proud of everything that I did.