I have always been more comfortable expressing myself in writing. For some reason I become self-conscious during face to face discussions, and I tend to hold back on my true feelings. I suppose I am always trying to put up a brave face, a pillar-of-strength facade.
I am frustrated with my feelings and emotions right now. I am 35 years old. I am married and I have a child. Logically, I know that my Dad moving back to Texas should not affect me. He needs to return to his wife. The commute between Austin and Virginia has taken its toll on him during the past 9 years. I know that it is time for him to move on, professionally and personally.
I am an independent woman with a family of my own. I love my parents but I am no longer dependent upon them. This being said, I can't help but feel like a little girl who is losing her Daddy.
My parents began living separately when I was eight. They have always maintained a comfortable relationship. My childhood was void of the stereotypical divorced parent conflicts. My father was often present at birthday parties and other celebrations. If there was friction between my mom and dad, I never knew it.
My life has drastically changed during his residence in our basement. I bought my first house, Scott and I began dating and we were married. I struggled through numerous surgeries and agonized with the decision to amputate. I learned to walk again. He witnessed my journey from a patient with a bandaged and blood stump to a happy and active amputee.
I was diagnosed with cancer and survived the treatments. Scott and I bought a house together and my dad moved right along with us. I gave birth to Robby, quit my job and became a stay at home Mommy. I started to write my blog and my book.
Some events, however, are etched in my memory. Neither Scott nor I will ever forget that cold night when my dad received the phone call that a lung was available for Christopher. (Christopher was my stepbrother who was dealing with Cystic Fibrosis.) My Dad began frantically pacing, wringing his hands and unsure of what to do next. In that moment I assumed the care-taking role, making his plane reservations and helping him pack. What a terrifying and wonderful night.
I became the conduit between my dad and the rest of the family during this time. He called me with updates on the transplant surgery as well as information concerning Christopher's recovery. I passed the information to concerned friends and family.
I saw my Dad age greatly during this time as he struggled to stay strong for his wife and son. (Yes, Christopher was technically his stepson, but that was simply a label. For all intent and purposes, Chris was my dad's child.) I witnessed his true heartbreak and pain when Christopher passed away. I was angry when he received criticism the weeks following the funeral. I learned that a daughter never forgets!
During this sad time, I tried to help my Dad. Nothing can ever ease the pain of losing a child, and I can only hope that a supportive ear and an off color joke every once in awhile provided a brief respite from his grief.
I have written about how Robby is going to miss having his Candy Pap-Paw around. I failed to acknowledge how much I am going to miss my dad. He has now lived with me as an adult longer than he did when I was a child.
I am grateful for the time I have spent with him, and I know that our relationship is a gift. Not many parents and children get the opportunity to forge adult relationships with each other. I am proud of my dad's professional and personal accomplishments, but there will be a void in our basement and my heart. I miss him already.