Friday, September 29, 2006

Nineteen years ago today....

It's just too unbelievable to admit that my dad has been gone for nineteen years. Kara has been without him longer than she was with him since he died right before her 13th birthday. I was 24 and still felt I was too young to lose a parent.

Kara emailed me last night from her honeymoon and said she couldn't believe it was nineteen years. That amount of time seems like forever. Things have never been the same since he died. We've never been the same.

I felt like I really needed to write about that day,today. I don't have too much to add to this,which really tells the complete story but here is what I remember.

It was a Tuesday morning around 11:00am. The phone rang and it was my Uncle Robert,Daddy's brother. He worked side by side with my father in the bakery where Dad was the manager. Uncle Robert asked to talk to my mother but I said she was out shopping. Later,I learned that Mom was shopping for a black skirt for no reason at all. Kind of creepy.

Anyway,Uncle Robert said to tell Mom to get to Boston City Hospital as soon as she could because my dad was sick. He didn't say more.
A while later,Mom came home and I gave her the message. We weren't really worried because "sick" doesn't mean "dead." I don't even remember what we were thinking was wrong with him.

A few minutes later,Uncle Robert called and all he said was,"Let me talk to your mother." I asked him what was wrong. He wouldn't tell me. I wouldn't give Mom the phone until he did. He said he wouldn't. I guess I thought it was going to be bad news and by then,I suppose I knew what the news was. By not giving Mom the phone,we'd never have to hear it,right?

Tears were already streaming down my face when I handed her the receiver. I don't remember how she reacted or what she said or did next but I remember walking out of the kitchen and into the living room and screaming! Just screaming. Then I fell on the living room rug and my teal shoe went sailing across the room as it slipped off my foot.

Eventually,Papa came home from work and I sat at the kitchen table talking to him,trying to make sense out of all of this. That's when I had my very first anxiety attack and I couldn't breathe. Papa took me outside with a brown paper bag and helped me to breathe again. The tears never stopped.

Mom's friend,Rozie,took me aside and told me to "stop it" because I was upsetting my mother. I just stayed by Papa's side for a very long time and tried to stop crying but I couldn't.

At some point,Mom said people had to be notified and she gave me the phone book and told me who to call. Since it was a Tuesday,most people were at work so I got to leave a cheery message like this:
"Hi Bev and Sherm.This is Robin. I just wanted to let you know that my father just died. to you soon.Bye"

I went into some psychotic robot-like state and made all the calls in a sing-songy voice. I didn't even cry until all the calls were made. Then I went back to snuggle Papa.

Meanwhile,my 12 year old sister,was in school,completely oblivious to all of this. Mom sent her brother,Louis,to pick Kara up and tell her the news. He was,afterall,a high school guidance counselor and could handle this. According to Kara who says we totally did the wrong thing that day,this meeting did not go well.

Uncle Louis pulled the car over a block from our house and said something like,"Kara,your father is very sick. Your father is dead." Kara just glared at him and said,"Take me home!"

When I saw her walk in the door I ran to her and hugged her. She pulled away and through clenched teeth said,"Don't touch me!"

I don't remember much after that. People came to visit. Everyone said they were sorry. Of course they should be sorry. MY FATHER DIED!! I hated everyone and resented their very presence in my house.

Somehow we all survived and I suppose we came out stronger than ever before. To tell you the truth,I'd rather be weaker and still have my father here with us. I think we all would.

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