Thursday, January 5, 2017

Good Night Papa Bear Part I


This isn't a post I wanted to write. I don't think anyone wants to write about the loss of a parent. However, since my dad loved my blog, I am posting this in his honor.

My dad passed away on Tuesday morning, December 20. It is a day I will never forget. He was sick for a couple of years but we didn't think it was going to happen as abruptly as it did. As his wife told us, one minute he was up and about and the next he was down and gone.

He lived in Florida. My mom and I flew there to join his wife, my brothers and family to say goodbye. When I entered his house, I could smell him. I could feel his energy and I could sense his presence. I had a hard time being in his room more than anything--even more than the service we had. Like a lost little puppy, I wandered around his place looking for anything that would pertain to me - whether it was a picture, a note, or a letter. When you don't live with your parents or have parents who have separated or remarried, there is that part of you that wonders how they fit you into their new home life. 

I knew my dad loved me. There is no question of that. I know he knew I loved him too. In every conversation we had and every text message, as stern as he was, he never hesitated to let me know that he loved me and I always made sure he knew too. The distance is what was hard. Me living in California and him in Florida. We didn't get to see each other as much as we would have liked to over the years. 

So back to the lost little puppy looking for signs around my dad's place - I found hints here and there - a picture on his desk of me, my brothers and a good friend's grandson when we were little in a frame. The lion stuffed animal I gave him that has a tie that says "I Love My Dad" was also on his desk. The lion has relocated to my purse so he can accompany me on all of my adventures and so I can also hug and kiss him when I think of my papa bear. 

My CD was in his player and he had this very special card I got him next to the stereo. Every year, I always went out of my way to find the perfect Father's Day, Christmas and Birthday card (Dec 28) for my dad. Very rarely did the cards have the right words but usually I got blank cards depicting nature or something quirky and interesting that I knew he would appreciate. The special card that I found was a black and white card with a black cat sitting in bed reading a book and next to him was another book titled "Le chat et nous". I wrote to my dad that he was that cool cat because he read profusely and spoke French. Finding that card touched my heart immensely. 

My mom, who also came, found things just for her. My brothers, found things pertaining to each of them too. My mom says my dad left things out so we could find them. She was right. I later found a folder with my name on it which I will get into in the Part II of this post. 

The one thing I wanted most wasn't there and that was just to kiss his cheek one last time. Or to feel his hands - which were soft in places and hard in others. His crooked pinky from an injury he never went to the doctor for. His furrowed brows which could convey more emotion than the words he spoke (which is saying a lot because my dad could TALK) - I wish I could touch them. His soft black hair and crooked mouth always decorated with a mustache. Hearing him call the nickname he gave me "Boo Bear" or sometimes "Boo Boo" or even hearing myself say "Daddy" and have him answer. 

Yes, even his stubbornness, I'll miss and the excessive talking and always thinking he knows more than everyone else or an unparalleled amount more than his kids. Yes, I'll miss that too because to be my father is to be all of those things - whether good or bad, happy or sad, stubborn or yielding - all of his characteristics that make him who he was and what he meant to me. 

I would never be who I am today without him and I will never be the same without him.