Thursday, September 10, 2009
3 Years Gone...
So it's been 3 years since my father died. 3 years. It doesn't seem possible that much time could have gone by without him.
I remember that morning as if it were yesterday, as if it were happening all over again.
Phone rings in the early hours of the morning, waking me. My mother frantic, scared, crying. "Dad's on the way to the hospital, I think he's gone".
Never have I moved faster. Without thought, robotic. All I could think of was getting there, fast as I could. If he was going I HAD to be there, or if he wasn't I HAD to be there. If ever there had been a time where it would have been convenient for Scotty to beam me up, this was it. I needed instant.
But somehow I got myself in the car. I made 2 calls, crying, barely breathing. I called my then boy-friend and I called my best friend. How I made it to the hospital, 20 minutes away in close to 7 I will never know.
I don't remember the drive, the roads. I remember crying, screaming. Begging him to hold on, that I was coming. I would be there. "Don't die Daddy, you can't die" Pounding the steering wheel, clinging to it with every last shred of hope I held in my body.
I don't remember parking. I got there in a blur. A rushed whirlwind of speeding car and racing emotions.
I somehow found my mother, my brother. We were taken into a family waiting area. The minutes seemed like hours. He'd be ok, he HAD to be ok. He was bionic. He had survived the unsurvivable before. He was a cat with 9 lives. He had always beaten the odds.
Then I saw them. The white coat coming towards me, an advocate by his side. I KNEW. It was over, he was gone. These people weren't coming with optimistic words of "everything will be ok", NO. They were coming to tell me that my father was dead. That they did everything they could but he didn't make it.
I collapsed to the floor. My hurt so heavy my legs could no longer hold the burden of my body. Inconsolable. My mother sobbed, my brother went blank. A plethora of emotions in one tiny confined, sterile room.
My sister hadn't even been told he was at the hospital. I called her, I could barely talk. I couldn't tell her on the phone, she too had to be there. "Get to the hospital NOW, it's dad." She had to know. There was no way the waiver in my voice didn't give it away.
Within what seemed like minutes my sister and then-boyfriend arrived. Almost simultaneously. Time ceased to exist. What did time matter? My dad was gone.
As we walked towards the room he lay in, my heart tightened in my chest, was there even air in here because I know I couldn't breathe. And there he lay. Stiff and grey colored, bloated from trauma of resuscitation. He was a big man, and yet he looked so small, so lifeless. He WAS lifeless.
Again I collapsed, and was caught by the nurse who accompanied us to the room. It was like they had to prove to us they did something. Prove to us he was really gone.
I hated them. I wanted them all to feel the pain I felt that day, my mother felt. My siblings. They didn't do enough, they couldn't have. If they had he'd still be here right?
Nothing made sense.
I had to get away from there. Back at my mother's house the phone calls came in droves. Aunts, cousins, friends. Condolences and questions. Somehow I was the one to answer most calls. My mother couldn't function.
The next few days were a blur of emotions and blankness, contradicting each other. I had to remove myself so many times. Pretend I wasn't there.
The constant line of hugging and thanking at his wake. People I never knew, knew too well, or were related to. All coming to say goodbye. The line out the door and down the block. The largest non-police/fireman wake they had seen. Hour after hour of smelling people's various perfumes and colognes as they hugged me, making me nauseated.
The funeral, so many flowers, people. Seeing my dad in a box about to go into the ground seemed an impossible thing to overcome. How could I survive this day? How could anything be normal again with out his silly banter or his annoying whistling through his teeth?
And then, like that it was over. We were expected to go back to normal, but how? Knowing my dad would never see my siblings or I get married. Knowing he would not be there to see Dylan, the light of his life, grow up.
3 years later and I am still there, on that day so often. I listen to Dylan talk about "Papa in Heaven" and as grateful as I am he remembers him, I ache. I hate that he wasn't there to see his first day of preschool, his first "boo-boo" severe enough to deserve stitches. He wasn't there to go to Disney with us for the first time, or to see Dylan start kindergarten yesterday.
He had this ability, my dad, to make everything right. Sure he would scream at you for screwing up in the first place, but he would fix it. Even if all it took was him being there, it helped. He made me feel like things would always be ok. Like things would always work out, because he made me believe it, and he somehow made it happen.
I miss the food stains that adorned his belly after every meal. The chirp of his Nextel every so often, most often calling me to ask how his Dylan was doing. The way his hair was all crazy when he woke up and the sleep marks from his sleep-apnea mask. His belt-and-suspenders combo that was never stylish, but was always him.
Every day I think of him. I talk to him out loud in my car most often, much like the day I yelled for him 3 years ago today. Not a day goes by I don't wish he was here to guide me, or be with Dylan. And on this day, on September 10, I am completely filled with the emotions of his death.
I miss you dad, I hope you're resting in peace.
Robert P. Rossi, Jr. 2-11-51 ~ 9-10-06.....gone but never forgotten. I love you.