The farthest back I can remember of my father is around the age of 5. My mother, brother, and I were coming back home from something. My brother was the first back into the apartment and stopped dead in his tracks. I followed and saw a strange man sitting on the other side of the living room. One of his legs was in a cast.
You’d think when my brother shouted “Dad!” it would’ve filled me in on who he was.
My five year old brain couldn’t remember seeing this man before. All I remembered was my brother and mother. No one else in my life. I stayed where I was and asked “Who are you?”
“It’s dad.” My brother answered while giving my dad a bear hug.
“Really?” I still didn’t seem sure of this man.
My dad grinned. “Really.”
After that I followed my brother’s lead and bolted over to him.
Mom finally came in. “What are you doing here?”
The thing that we were told back then is that my father was a truck driver who had fallen on some black ice. He messed up his ankle in a few places and was sent back home. Being gullible 5 and 6 year old we believed it. When my brother got older he looked into dads past a little more. I didn’t. I actually forgot all about the story.
Can’t remember the actual story but he was in jail at that time and broke his ankle. I remember him telling me a few years ago that he was going to sue them because of how he broke his ankle but couldn’t because he refused to be looked at by their doctors. Something like that.
Growing up with him, he was always getting in trouble so I can believe he did jail time. He’s got a whole… past that I’m curious about but don’t think I want to bother looking into.
When I wrote this one I didn’t expect to be down another family member. Dad missed you so much though. He wasn’t doing well down here. One of the last conversations you and I had was how much longer we thought dad had. It was that he wasn’t going to survive 2017. We were right about that. I wish we weren’t after you left.
I was okay to go back to work about a week after Dave. I mean it sucked to have all my coworkers look at me with pity and sadness. To be reminded for several days just how sorry everyone was for my loss. But I still held it together. Granted I would secretly disappear into the bathroom to hyperventilate and cry, but I was able to hold it together for everyone to see.
My first day back was a disaster. Everyone looked at me in an awkward silence, the pity and sadness much worse than the first time. I had barely slept. Thinking I was feeling better, I never called out. The sick to my stomach feeling returned when I woke up to get ready to go. With barely any sleep, being ill for days, and a broken heart I was overwhelmed.
The whole way to work I cried. Two weeks prior my father had driven me to work since there was a blizzard on the way and he had a 4 wheel drive vehicle. That was all I could think of. I’m lucky I didn’t run into any cops. The tears were blurring my vision and I was speeding like a bat out of hell.
My manager gave me a hug when she first saw me and said I looked ill. I didn’t feel like talking so everyone just left me alone after that. When I went to take my coworker off, the first words out of his mouth were “I’m sorry about your father.” The water works started up all over again.
I made it a whole hour of stomach pains and panic attacks before my manager sent me home. She was surprised I had even bothered coming back so soon. I thought 10 days off would be enough. It was enough for my brother, so why wasn’t it enough for dad?
That whole day and yesterday I continued to have panic attacks. I was still ill. Every little thing began to make me cry. My mother talked me into calling in again last night. I was in no state of mind to return to work again.
Tonight I plan to try again. I need some sort of normalcy back into my life. Staying home just makes me miss my father and brother so much more.
For the last several minutes I’ve just been staring at a blank screen. I have no words to type. I can’t figure out how to describe my feelings right now. I can’t figure out how to put my feelings into words to understand.
I was finally thinking we could pick up the pieces after losing my brother. It felt possible. Things could get better. We could feel sort of normal again.
But that was not meant to be. I mean I thought I was already at rock bottom. I didn’t think I could get lower than that. It’s possible.
This week has been a whirlwind. These last 4 months have been a whirlwind. No one expected to have to do another funeral for my family. Even my job doesn’t know how to react to this.
With my brother there wasn’t much to take care of. There’s much more to take care of with my father. Him and my mother have been separated for years. Sure they are technically married but they haven’t lived together for years. He moved out about 5 or 6 years ago on my mother’s birthday. So we had a whole house to pack up and his landlady said “Not to be a cold hearted bitch but I need his things out ASAP so someone else can move in and pay me.” Which to me sounds very cold hearted.
Now we had to scramble to figure out where to put a house full of things in a short time span. His friend that found him ended up stealing his phone and wallet so we don’t even have that anymore. She did return the phone but not the wallet after changing her story several times.
All of this has just piled on top of me and I’ve been stuck in my bed, sick to my stomach for the last several days.
People keep telling me to take it a day at a time. They’ve been telling me since December. But I’ve noticed it comes from people who haven’t suffered such a loss like this. People who still have intact families. Sure, I knew my family wasn’t perfect. We fought and bickered. But this pain… you can’t understand until it happens.
Where do we go from here?
I never expected the cops to come knocking on our door. Not this soon after Dave left us. My heart aches all over again with the news that my father has now left us too. He can now be with my brother again. He was taking it extremely hard after my brother died.
I never showed love like I should’ve but know that I did care and love you dad. I always will. Things definitely won’t be the same now that I’ve lost the two most important men in my life.
I feel like I might be going crazy. I’m seeing things out of the corner of my eyes. Seeing things that aren’t there. I’ve told my sister in law about these and she believes it’s my brother. I highly doubt it since one of the things I saw was an older man around 60 which definitely isn’t my brother. I don’t think he’d look like that when he got that old anyways.
Maybe it’s just lack of sleep and added stress from everything that’s making me see things. I would really hate to think I’m going crazy.
That’s what one of my coworkers told me when I told him I was having issues getting an item back of my brother’s from one of his friends. And it’s true. Don’t assume you can keep something without asking the family. You don’t know the sentimental value they could have attached to an item. Unless the person who passed bought the item for their friend, gave it to their friend as a gift, or it was just something they bought for themselves it probably won’t be that big of an issue. At least not for me it isn’t. I have no attachment to things my brother bought for himself or for his friends. I didn’t give any of that to him.
But what I wanted back was the last gift I gave him for our last Christmas together. Although I technically gave him something for his birthday a few months before he passed it was a gift certificate for a tattoo he had planned. Gift certificates need to be returned to the shop so I obviously can’t get that back.
The two last things for Christmas that I wanted back were a picture and a sweatshirt. The picture was of something his friend and tattoo artist had drawn and he loved it. It was the only picture he took with him from his room (might have been another one actually). The sweatshirt had one of his favorite cartoon shows on it. He had always loved them and over the years I had given him a lot of shirts with those characters. But not long into the new year he came over with a huge grin on his face saying how many people had complimented the sweatshirt and he said he had no idea where his sister had gotten such a sweet sweatshirt.
Mom had asked when they returned his things from his apartment to include everything, clothing included. Our aunt had said not long after he passed that she would take his shirts and make them into a quilt which meant we did need most of his shirts back. So when this stuff returned last month to our parents house one of his friends had said “I still have several of his shirts at my house. Just let me know if you want them.”
I didn’t think much of it. It was an emotional day. I was handed the picture and set it up on my wall in my room. I finally decided to go looking for the sweatshirt two weeks later and couldn’t find it. Then I remembered what his friend had said and I contacted them about getting it back.
I was told no, it was the only thing they had left to remember him.
I offered to trade with something else of his. No reply so I made an offer again. No reply. His friend decided to ignore me for the good part of a day or two. What really made me mad at this point is that they said they had 1) several things of his at their house but now it was just this sweatshirt and 2) they had offered to give it back if it was requested back and it was now a no.
I did not handle the situation right, I will admit that (won’t go into much more details) but in the end I got the sweatshirt back. And surprise! With the sweatshirt a few shirts were returned. It was tossed at me with my mother pleading for them to keep the shirts but she was ignored while they peeled out of the parking lot we had met his friend at.
This seems to have turned into a rant. But I had attempted to trade something else to give to this friend so they could have something to remember my brother with. When the story keeps changing it is very aggravating, especially when it’s such a sore subject. If my mother or father had wanted that sweatshirt back would it still be a no? Or would it have been a “of course, I’ll bring it over ASAP”? Does me being his sister not mean as much as being his parent?
I feel like a broken record with some of the things I say.
No matter how much time has passed, and it’s not much at this point, it still feels… wrong. I feel like I keep sleeping and have yet to wake up. I can still see the last time I saw you. The last time you visited. Still thinking you’ll eventually come into my room laughing about some snap chat or text you received.
Your stuff finally came back home this month. Mom spends more time in your room now. It looks like you never left. Just how it was most of our lives.