This is the first post of six in a series called Life Without Dad that will be made throughout 2012 about my life without my father. The last five parts will be posted on Fathers Day, September 4th, Thanksgiving, December 28th, and New Years. The loss of a parent is never easy, the loss of the parent who you didn’t necessarily get along with but were always able to talk to is even harder. Thank you to all of my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances for your support during this, the, first year of the rest of my life.
One month ago, I sat on the couch relaxing and waiting with the rest of my family with my fathers life, quite literally, in our hands. Noticeably absent that night was my sister who was 2,000 miles away in California to no fault of her own cause of flights being booked she could not get here until the following night. He was on life support after suffering a cardiorespiratory failure at about 4am on Christmas Eve Day. I had already known for two days that there was very little chance I would ever get my father back the way he was on December 9th when he went into the hospital to have surgery to remove 3 abdominal hernias. Shortly after a nurse took my parents upstairs where they would get my father ready to go into surgery I sat in the waiting room, waiting for mother, and using my iPad I posted this status to Facebook:
Spending time in the hospital waiting for my father to come out of surgery reminds me of reality. I have spent a lot of time in hospitals throughout my life mostly with my grandparents but in recent years more and more of my time in hospitals has been for my father and sitting here this morning I realize that even though my duties to my family are the same as they have always been there is a difference as I am 7 weeks shy of being 24. With age comes expectation. I am proud to be who I am, be part of such a loving caring family and can not wait to see my father in a few hours.
Dad, moments after I posted this status I started having flashbacks to a few weeks earlier when one night after I found out I had not been hired for a full time position that I waited for two months to find out if I was the one, in passing you said, “Einstein was a slow starter too.” Then the following night when you and I were discussing the possibility of you going to be with my Frieda in California for a few weeks, when you said, “You will be the man of the house, are you ready for that challenge?” Also talking more about why I did not get the job that I waited for two months to find out they chose someone else over me, when you said, “Don’t let my health get in your way of being motivated to take the next step in your career.”
At times in the last month, I have asked myself, “What would dad tell me to do?” Over the last 10 years of your life, probably even a little longer, anytime I found myself struggling to make a decision I would turn to you and ask you for your opinion, in some cases especially before I was in college, asking you to make the decision for me.
For those of you know me, you likely know that I am working part time at the local Domino’s, but for the last three months since I went back there (I worked there back in high school too) I have been questioning the decision. In the discussion I mentioned above, my father was telling me that if I want to be part of something big to take it easy and keep busy doing side projects and working a part-time job (no matter what it is) until I have enough of a portfolio.
That is what I am doing; My only hope in doing it is that I am not making the worst mistake of my life because my purpose in life now is not only to be a part of something big but also to make my father more proud of me than he already was and to take care of my family (current, as well as future [my future wife, my future brother-in-law, etc.]). That way, when I see him in the afterlife he will be able to praise me for taking care of them the same way he took care of us for the last 34 years.
Dad, something else you would say regularly in the last few weeks before you went in for surgery was, “Only you know how you are really feeling.” The only times in the last year that I can ever remember you saying you were feeling good or great were after he came home from working out. In the last month, hind sight being 20-20, I have realized that you probably knew better than even your doctors that your body was starting to fail and there was a good, or possibly even a great, chance you would never make it home from the surgery.
Dad, It saddens me to think that when Frieda graduates with her PsyD in June you wont be there to see it. It saddens me to think that when I graduate with my graduate degree in Computer Science in a few years you wont be there to see it. It saddens me to think that if I decide to get a doctoral degree in Computer Science, you will not be alive to see it. It saddens me to think that if I do make it big, you wont be there to see it. It saddens me to think that years from now when Frieda walks down the isle at her wedding, you will not be by her side. It saddens me to think that for all of the life changing events Frieda, Masood, Angie, Mom, and I have left in us, you will only be there in spirit. Sad or not, that is the reality and life goes on.
Dad, since turning 16, there were six times a year I always made time to spend with you: My Birthday, Fathers Day, Your Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I spent time with you at other times during the year too but without question I would spend time with you and the rest of the family on these six occasions. Today, I sit here typing this post after nearly 4 months of not posting anything to my blog (Note: my last post was also about another death that was near and dear to my heart, that of Steven Paul Jobs, Co-founder of Apple) 2 days before my 24th birthday and for the rest of my life, especially, on these days that I would normally have been spending time with you, I will look up at the sky and smile multiple times thinking of you and about all of the, seemingly, cryptic messages you would convey to me.
Dad, you were the only person who never allowed me to second guess my decisions in life the last few years. You were the only other member of this family that never questioned my ability to my face, if at all. You were always the first to remind me the importance of calmness and patience in life. You were the only member of this family who I could see eye to eye with when there was a disagreement surrounding something I said or did. Dad, you are the reason education is so important to me even through all of my struggles the last few years. Dad, without the decisions you made throughout my life I can honestly say, I would be lost in a world of losers instead of being lost in a world of technology. Dad, thank you for being the role model you were and teaching me to never give up.
RIP Dad. September 4, 1944 – December 28, 2011.