Our vessel is made up of blood, guts, tissue, and muscle. It breaths, digests, and it moves – all for us to live and function. Sometimes, something happens, like when my step dad got Polio, and his leg stopped working. Or possibly, it’s a disease that takes hold. Cancer eats away, hearts fail, or even the brain betrays inducing a stroke.
Either way, something is working against your body. It could be slowly, or it could be quickly. But despite what happens to your physical body, your soul lives on. It lives on in those you love…..forever.
Friday, December 4 was not just my Grandma’s birthday. It was my Dad’s too. I’m not sure which made who more special? I think they were both special. My friend Ron shares the same birthday, and his favorite character Jethro from Beverly Hillbillies does as well (can you tell he is a big fan?). He is a very funny guy, and Jethro was too. In conclusion, it has to be the birthday.
Grandma was cracking jokes at 90. Her body may have betrayed her with a blood disease that weakened her physically but by God, she could still laugh with all her soul.
Dad laughs with his soul. The things he says in birthday cards. His always humorous comments decorating it, getting me tickled. I don’t know how he comes up with it. It’s a gift. One of Dad’s favorite things to do is watch the local TV station. They had this “garage sale” type show on the weekends. It features table, after table of (usually) damaged products. They would hold each item up, and explain what it was, plug it in to show that it worked, or point out it didn’t. It went something like this (keep in mind this is rural Oklahoma with a very heavy accent), “This here is a fountain, as you can see here, nothing wrong with it, and we plugged it up. It works just fine. Now it’s missing the hose is all. But we are gonna guarontee it.”
Inevitably, one of use would holler out, “Yeah, it’s GUARANTEED NOT to work!”. Then laugh hysterically. You kinda need a hose to get a fountain to work. Just sayin’. Sometimes they would get shocked plugging something in. Sometimes they would fumble stuff and drop it. Going from guaranteed to as is, live on the air. Sometimes what they were selling was so broken, it gave us great guffaws. One of my all time favorite things to do, watch this show with Dad, and (literally) laugh my butt off.
Daddy lived a rock star life. He was a musician when he was only sixteen. A garage band called, The Monuments. It was his cousin, and a few other schoolmates. He played guitar, and sang. They got good enough, and popular enough with a hit single that they were invited to go on tour and open for the Beach Boys. Yeah! You can still find their hit on an old garage band CD. They didn’t end up opening, most of them signed up for the Army. The Vietnam War began cutting many youthful dreams short.
My mom fell for the rocker. She said he had a voice like an Angel. But he had demons too. The alcohol for one. He had an astounding shyness. The alcohol was the only thing that let down his inhibitions (to perform). Then it masked the horror of what he experienced working in the burn hospital during the war. Of course, that led to an almost lifelong battle with alcoholism. The alcoholism led to their demise, and divorce when I was only three.
She remarried to my step dad when I was five, and if you haven’t read my story about this wonderful Father, please do. He was my Father. Dad was my Daddy, my Daddy-O.
I always bragged to all my friends. I have TWO Dads! Yeah, take that. I always found the good in divorce, even as a child. Most weekends we spent with Dad, except when he was deployed to Germany for several years. Most times he lived in town, or at his house a few hours away. He always had interesting things at his place, like pet snakes (hog nose snake). He was fascinated with animals. For as long as I could remember, he signed me up for an animal magazine subscription. Plus, he worked in a toy factory for a while, which was super Dad status to a kid.
Dad just about killed himself drinking. In my teen years, I would do anything not to go see him. It was painful. He didn’t want you to leave. He got whiny, and sad. He was bitter about Mom taking his kids away. It was just easier not to go there, than be subject to that. Of course, I saw him. Not as much as I would have liked had he been sober.
He finally cleaned up about ten years ago. He stopped downing a fifth of Vodka every few days. Then, a few years after that gave up his prized More cigarettes. He smoked three packs a day, so this was HUGE. His ability to put those down after almost fifty something years of smoking, COLD TURKEY, and never smoke again was the fire that fueled ME to quit in 2006. If I had a craving, or wanted to just buy a pack, and have a smoke already. I remembered him and I told myself, if my DAD can do it, then so can I. And I did, Thank you Daddy.
I was very, very proud of him.
When I divorced for a second time, I got to tell my Dad, “Guess what? I have your last name again.” He got quite a chuckle out of that. I did too. My maiden name was always my most favorite, not to mention the easiest. HA.
He had a stroke, and heart problems in recent years. But like always, he snapped back. Giving up his precious Tony’s pizza smothered in mozzarella cheese for awhile. Eating fish, and olive oiled fried chicken. He would almost lose his gut, but then again, he couldn’t quite give up his sugar cookies in a tin.
Dad was born an OU fan. Christmas shopping was easy, anything OU. Being an OU fan gave him life. I surprised him and my brothers by driving to Ada for the OU vs Texas rivalry game. We had a blast. I, also, had to confess to him my boyfriend lived in a house trimmed in orange, with a longhorns curb marking. He was gravely disappointed, as he shook his curly brown head. His only redemption was being a Marine.
I saw my Daddy this Saturday, he had surgery the week before. He had a hernia that perforated part of his bowel and caused a blockage. Now, my Dad has taken a lickin’ and kept on tickin’, too many times to count. He had a ruptured bowel about 20 years ago. They called us to come up, and say our goodbyes. He was laid up in the ICU with a morphine drip on the brink of death. I said my tearful good-bye. They had basically gutted him to clear it all out. His recovery was UNHEARD of, but recover he did. Twenty years ago!
This time wasn’t as traumatic. When I talked to him on his birthday, he sounded very weak. His recovery was slower. He had gone to solid foods, but relapsed. I felt I needed to see him (just in case). He was asking for me. I, of course, did not have time. I had so much to do, errands, chores, and many other things to cram into two days. I went anyway.
His color looked good. He was in a lot of pain, but watching college football which was a good sign. Jason, Sydney, and I brought him an OU blanket, and a little stuffed crazy fan window sucker. It had wild hair and face paint, covered in OU tattoos. He really got a kick out of that. I also got him a Christmas fern. By God, if he was stuck in the hospital during the holiday season, he’d have something merry.
I hugged him, and kissed his cheek. “I love you Daddy-O. I wish I could take your pain away.” In his weak raspy voice he replied back, “I love you, my baby girl.” I had no doubt, he would use his ninth life. Recovering against all odds, like he always did. I was glad to see him, but this was not our final adventure.
But that was not to be, my daddy passed on a little after midnight last night. He had a heart attack and his weak body could not withstand it. He went quickly and mercifully. He no longer suffers. Just sweet peace, for my man Pops.
Daddy-O, I know how much you loved me. I knew in every hug, smile, and laugh. Your spirit and soul will live on in my life, and many others timelessly.