Tag Archive: Pain


Love, anger and numbness…

 flower

    I really do not know exactly what I am to say here, I have wanted to write but really did not know how to get it out. It has been so long since I blogged anything I think the last time was the cool (to me) car that I bought and picked up that I blamed my father for making me like it… and now… well he is at fault for this blog as well.

 

  On June 7th my father took his last breath, just 17 days ago… 17 days…

 

 On the 11th I got to see his face in person for the last time, that was hard… but I guess I better go back a little. I was going to start with when he called me to tell me that he was in the hospital… but no… I need to get more out…

 

  I never knew my father all that well growing up… he was the guy who make trucks (he worked at Ford), and he was the guy who would pop into my life with a few presents from time to time. I remember once, and I do not know how it all came about but my brother and I (different fathers but don’t you dare call us half brothers, we are soul mates lol it’s in inside joke, there is nothing half about being a brother you either are… or you are not… and yes read that in the voice of Yoda if you like) were visiting my father. I think it was a birthday, we were both young but I do not remember how young to be honest, all I know is he had to be the richest person ever (to the mind of a child)… he took my brother and I into a toy store and told us to pick out two things… any 2 things we wanted. I just remember the look on my lil brothers face, it had to mirror mine. Eyes big as the can get, “ANYTHING?” He mouthed… and I just shrugged… so there we were picking out two of the coolest Transformers ever… and think G.I. Joes… I don’t remember the rest. But it is little memories like that I remember from him… he was a semi foul mouthed guy that was really cool to me. He told you exactly what he thought in not the nicest of ways, and you could sit and listen to his stories for hours… as I got older he sort of reminded me of George Carlin more and more… just a simple why are people to fkn stupid attitude because everything was so clear and simple as he saw it.

  My dad was a guy’s guy for sure… and with no doubt a ladies’ man… he had that old wise guy type style, kinda could say almost anything and get away with it and he could pull off suspenders like they were cool.

  His friends that I knew were loyal to a fault, and boy have I heard things… lol but now that is between me and the grave… It was not easy being a son to a man who honestly did not know how to be a father… I was an asshole kid, and he did not take shit from anyone. So that alone was a tough hurdle to get over for us. He knew how to be affectionate to women… but I was a grown man child and well it was just awkward most of the time.

  I did enjoy watching football with him and listen to him cuss and get pissed off telling me he would never watch these stupid bums again… lol until next Sunday… then we would sit back on a lazy afternoon and watch old black and white movies, and westerns… now I know to a lot of you that may seem dull. But man as a younger kid I used to watch stuff like little house on the prairie with my mother’s father and that was what family was all about… well that and the dukes of hazard but well you have to have a little balance in your like right?

  There was a lot of good in our relationship, but still a lot of resentment on my part too… I had been through some stuff and he was not there. And now he wanted to be “Dad” and I have a bolder on my shoulder about that and was not going to make it easy. Stupid kid… was doing even worse stupid things…

  Fast forward a long long time skipping the ugly… Living in NC with my own half grown children, I remember the first time my Dad agreed to come visit my house… you would have thought the president of the United States was coming over… nothing could go wrong or he may never want to come again… it had to be perfect… and funny thing was almost nothing turned out right, and it was perfect. My dad and I side by side at my sink peeling what felt like 20lbs of shrimp because I go the wrong kind and it was not cleaned… man it took us hours to clean all of that. But between the two of us we got it done, I will never forget that. He enjoyed so much just relaxing at my table eating the food and listening to the kids talk about school, my daughter was all stary eyed at “Grandpa Dave” cause he was not like the rest of the family… my son just like I would… sat back and just loved to listen to his stories…

  I remember going to the farmers market here with him and picking out wine for dinner, and then cooking a steam pot for him with my friend Patrick and just having everyone sit back and enjoy the evening. I felt like that all the bad had gone, and I finally had my dad, my anger was gone and I just wanted so hard to work and be a man he could be proud of. No matter what he was my father and I loved him… I wanted to do more things with him.

medad

  Fast forward to 2015… my daughter is turning 18 and graduating high school, my youngest is an adult and loves her grandpa Dave so much. I asked him if there was any way he could surprise her and come in for her graduation and then we would do her b-day party that night. He would be her biggest surprise and she would be so happy. He told me he would have to check his schedule because he had a bunch of shoots in June… well that weekend was free and he said he would make it!! We talked about him not feeling well that this flue he had after he got back from Vegas was lingering, I told him to get some rest and we would nail down details later.

  I few months from the graduation we talk again, he told me about selling one of his campers and trading the other in on a better toy hauler that he could take to shoots, that he had it parked at a friend’s house who had a farm because it was too big to put at his place. He was going to clean out the other that weekend and get the new one ready for his upcoming shoot. I had not heard from him for quite a few weeks, so I left a few messages on his answering machine and sent a few emails… I did not call his cell because I really did not want to bother him if he was on a shoot or at dinner with friends. I knew he would get back up with me when he was done with whatever.

  Then… Tuesday June 2nd I am at my desk at work and I get a call on my cell, normally I would not answer my cell at work but it was dad’s cell phone and I had wanted to talk to him and the graduation and b-day party were less than 2 weeks away. He was telling me that he was in the hospital, and had been for over 3 weeks… he had had surgery and did not want to bother me with it. That people had kept asking him if he had called me so much that he figured it was time to call me and let me know. They had found a mass in his lower intestine and cut it out, but it was not cancer so no big deal. Took out his gallbladder while they were there and stitched him up. He was recovering and would end up going to an assisted living home for a few weeks after they released him. So he could go through physical therapy and get better, they could not let him go home because he was really weak and his bathroom is on the 2nd floor of his house. I asked the obvious questions, are you going to be ok… blah blah… I was kinda in shock did not know what to say. I have been trying to reach him for a few weeks and he was in the hospital the whole time and I never knew it. I felt bad, but how could I have known.

  He then tells me that in recovery his heart started acting up a little and would not get into rhythm and right before they decided to “shock” it back into shape it just leveled out and was normal. So for now they are keeping him on the cardiac floor, but if everything goes well today they will move him to a general recovery floor later in the week. He told me he did not tell me because there was nothing I could do and there was no point in getting me worried or having me run up there to just sit. I understood that I guess, and he was right there was nothing I could have done and he honestly saved me from feeling guilty that I would not have been able to just go up there and sit. The conversation was pretty short just him being him and updating me on what’s going on in his own, “fkn doctors got a tube in my dick” sort of way. I say I hope he feels better and update me when he knows more, he said he would. We said our good-byes… if I had only known…

  I called my uncle Jerry to get filled in on what my dad may not have been telling me. Well there was little to say, dad had said it all pretty much except that there was some concern that his digestion had not kicked in yet and that was all they were waiting on to get his body functions back online. I thanked Jerry and emailed him all my contact info incase anything like that happened again and he wanted to tell me he could.

  I got my kids to call dad and Kayla specially wanted to talk to him she was happy to hear that he was going to surprise her, but then sad that he was not well and would miss it. But she got to talk to him and that was good. I called on Wednesday but it was really short he was about to go for a test… then on Thursday I tried again but it went right to voicemail…

  So here it is Friday I worked late and then was going to meet Michele at dinner to go try a new place that opened up not far from where I work. We got a table and sat down, water and bread came and my phone rang… it was dad… I told Michele I was going to step outside… then everything changed. It was my uncle Jerry; he was calling to tell me that my dad was not going to make it. My brain shut down, wait what? This is dad’s phone I told him… dad was suppose to be calling me to tell me he got moved to the other floor for recovery… my uncle jerry was broken up, he apologized and said dad’s phone was the one with all the numbers and he did not think about calling me from it. I told him it was ok, I did not mean to upset him, this was not what I expected to hear, I really did not know how to process this… what happened? Why? My chest hurt and I just wanted to sit down… I felt ill…

  I went back inside trying hard to hold it together, I was in public, I almost lost it as I told the waitress I had to go, and I explained to Michele what was going on… I went home threw my stuff in the truck went back to work to send out emails and put things where people could get to it and I drove through the night to Ohio… my father was dieing and they were waiting on me… around midnight I get a call. Jerry is telling me they are moving him from on hospital to another and that there is a specialist that will see him. None of that made sense to me, I even half accused them of some sick joke and told him that if I get there and he has won the lotto and he wanted to screw with me to get me there I would be pissed. And Jerry said he wished that was the case. But he would let me know more when I got there, but at least there was a little bit of hope.

  Between accidents and construction that trip took forever so many things going through my head… my childhood, this I had said and done, things I should never had said and done and most of things I felt I really still so much needed to say and do that I was scared I may never get the chance to. Regret… and lots of it.

  I finally get there later than I planed but safe and sound… I’m kinda of numb to be honest; I mean I had my moments on the trip where I thought I would have to pull over, just so much emotion going on. So between that and not sleeping I just felt numb like it was not real… seeing my dad laying there I was very uncomfortable. I did not know what to say or do. I did not know what or how to feel… I just did not really know anything… Talking to the Doctor he explained a lot of things he had pictures and it seems when my dad’s heart when out of rhythm it was throwing clots and they did not know it. Instead of going to the brain or lungs it went to his lower intestine and cut off all blood flow. It basically died… when they opened him back up that Friday to try to figure it out it was too late. No one could have known… no one really did anything wrong, it was just shitty luck.

  The staff and doctors at St Johns were amazing and really answered many questions… and even shut me down when I offered to have them take half of my lower intestine. I was willing to try anything… anything… it’s still hard honestly to think about. So we made the decision to take him off the life support sooner than later, because we may have a chance to talk to him now… that later we may not. We were blessed… he got that chance, he was sort of alert, I got to talk to him and say my goodbyes. To tell him how very sorry I was for everything, to tell him I loved him. The conversation he had with the doctor was amazing as well, still kinda funny all the way to the end it seems. He was tired and wanted rest and then it really seemed he might be ok for days… we decided to leave him so I could get some rest and a shower and we would all meet back in the morning.

  I went back to his house and I felt like a stranger there… like I should not be there… remembering all the bad things that had been said, all the fights. The hole in the wall that is well hidden by something my father put over it. From my anger as a stupid teenager and putting my hand almost through the wall when he came home after a night of drinking and we got into it… all of that flooding back at me as I sit in the living room wishing I could just talk to him and regretting not making more time. Regretting almost everything… and now within days he would be gone… I absolutely hated myself at that moment and I struggle to think of a time I ever felt so alone in my life. Here I sit, the kid who last anyone knew was trouble and who had moved away over 20 years ago… would now have to make a ton of decisions about how to bury his father. I felt like an outsider…

  I finally get a couple hours of sleep, I run to the store, then go to get coffee… then I head to the hospital. I was to meet my uncle Jerry there that morning. I stop downstairs to call my brother and just talk to him a little, through some of our hardest times in life we always have called each other, we are never afraid to put each other in their place and tell them when they are being stupid. He lost his own father a good time back and I just wanted to talk I guess… we did and I felt a bit better about a few things and I still had not seen my uncle so I was going to head up. I knew he had been moved to a different floor they told us he would and my uncle said he was on the 3rd floor now… kind of a hospice floor so to speak.

  Getting on the elevator hitting the 3rd floor I was a little anxious… so much I wanted to say… walking to the nurses’ station I asked them for his room. That was when I probably came closer to ever passing out without getting touched than I ever have in my life. The nurse looks up and says something about them calling people in or something like that. I did not know what she meant… she said I guess you are hear because he passed or something like that… my heart felt thick… I could barely breath… all I could get out was “excuse me?” she looked up at me and said are you a friend or family? I do not remember my exact words but it was something along the lines I’m his fkn son… or he is my fkn father… and no one told me… she went ghost white… I just stepped away from the nurses’ station, I either sat down right there on the floor or up against the wall I don’t remember but everything just went blurry… he was gone… he was gone… she was there with her arm around me as was another nurse… I just needed more time… I needed to talk to him. I was not angry at them I was just angry… I stood up and I wanted to go in I needed to know where he was.

  I went into the room, I took a few moments, and he looked good, just like he was sleeping. I wanted so bad to just wake him up and tell him this shit is not funny. Then a nurse came in I told her I needed more time but she insisted I hear something… she told me how peacefully dad went and that it was really best that I was not there. It was very early that morning… and that really he just went to sleep. In the end it made me feel better, and I know she was right. Had I been there he may have tried to hold on… had we been there we may have panicked and tried to get them to do something… this really was the best way.

  Ok this has turned out so much longer than I planned… I will finish this tomorrow… I am a little drained from even writing this… I do want to thank everyone who has helped me through this. I will finish this up tomorrow, this has been pretty good for me to get it out I think…

Thank you for reading.  Please excuse typos and all my “…” it’s just how I write, it is like me… very far from perfect, but it is honest.

dad

Mt. Mitchell 2014

I will do a blog about this later… I just wanted to post this for now… thank you for your support.

A year ago today…

 A year ago today I finished what has been one of the biggest moments of my life. But to understand this we need to step back a little…

 

  I joined what was at the time a small-ish blogging community online, I needed a place to vent, a place to say what I thought, and a place to lose my filter and just be me. After searching the internet I stumbled across a place called www.thoughts.com there I found more than I ever dreamed I would.

 Fast forward just a bit, after a few years of blogging I met someone there, I followed her blog and we spoke often about our different lives. I loved her adventurous spirit. For someone so young and so beautiful she had a heart of gold and she gave a lot of herself to her friends and her family. I found that she had joined the Red Cross and was in South Africa after dropping out of school and giving up her posh life in the UK to do something she believed in. Then after a while she disappeared… time went by and when she returned she had a confession. She told us that she had MS and was getting treatment; she even apologized to us for not telling anyone and not being honest. She said she just wanted to be herself and not the girl with MS like she was in her close circle of family and friends. Then I found out that her symptoms were getting bad fast, it was what the doctor told her that made her leave school and want to help people. She was told that in a few years it was likely that she would lose a good bit of motor function and would need assistance.

 My heart was broken for her, but I just tried to be the friend I always had, the times zone difference was tough but we spent many times chatting and just talking telling stories about our family and I was learning about MS and the struggles of people in Africa.

 Then she was gone… A brain tumor… and just like that one of the brightest lights I had met in the world was gone. Many of us in the ever growing blogging community were dumbfounded… our hearts heavy… changing avatars to white roses to remember our friend. I wanted to do something… I did not know what but I wanted to do something… then it hit me… I emailed the people at thoughts and asked permission to fundraise… Me just a fat factory worker… I was going to ride my bike in the local MS bike ride… it was an MS150 but that was not enough they had a 25 mile loop challenge each day so that you could ride 100 miles each day… to many people with MS cannot even walk on their own I could force myself to ride. We raised a lot of money and cried many tears… but I did it for her… I could do nothing different. I received a heartfelt email from her sister the night before my ride… I printed it and when I faltered… and I did do just that I would read it… and with misty eyes keep going.

 

 Time goes on and things change people… I blogged about my experience I talked about doing more… doing anything. And it was the following year I found out that people were truly reading and it was really having an effect on people’s lives. A blogger whom I became very close to was with me in heart and soul during all of this… forever know to most as Bootlady she decided to write an essay about me and my adventures. I won’t share that here for me it is a bit personal… maybe I would with her permission but with that essay she won me the right to go to the Thoughts.com official launch party… that trip I think was another stepping stone to really changing the course of my life. I met so many great people and I was truly over whelmed by the response to my bike ride and to the support. The people hugging me with tears in their eyes telling me I was an inspiration. Me? Just an overweight factory worker… not Lance Armstrong… not some super star… just some average guy who decided in 2007 to start blogging. Who would have ever guessed a blog could change your life.

 

 So there I sit at the launch party surrounded by people feeling overwhelmed with emotion riding the high one gets from moments like this I look over at one of the guys there and say, “ You know what… I want to do something more… Next year I will ride my bike from my home to the thoughts office… for MS and for thoughts… for all the love that you guys have shown all the money that has been donated and time I will do that!”  He (at the time I had no idea who I was really talking to) said “oh yeah? If you do it I will ride with you.” That moment changed my life forever…

Here in the man that helped me make it all real… I will never forget what you helped me do brother…

 That was the seed that started the friendship… Viktor is my brother now… we have been through a lot together.

  That night was the birth of the One Love Bike Ride… 756 miles in 7 and a half days… from New Bern, NC to Winter Garden, FL. And exactly one year ago today this was our last day; this was the day we finished this epic journey. I know people have ridden across country and people have done much more… and I am not taking anything away from them. But I am just a factory worker who is 5’8 and over 250lbs I did not use bicycle shorts… no extra padding… just me and the bike. But it’s not about me… it’s about the millions of people in this world with MS the people who cannot hold a glass of water or hug their loved ones… the people who cannot lift their head and say I Love you… this was for them. I met so many amazing people… pushed my limit so many times I don’t even know if I have a limit anymore.

  This trip forever changed me and my family… my kids know that nothing is impossible if you believe and hold others needs above your own… this know that love and passion make this life worth living not money and stuff. This, for me, is a bitter sweet day for one year ago I finish a journey of a life time… and today I sit here and I am able to write about it and I cannot help but wonder…. What’s next…?

 

   Smile… when you do the love in your soul is able to come out and touch everyone around you and that is beautiful.

  P.S.  When the doctor tells you that you can’t I would never tell you that you should not listen to him… but my body told me I could… and I did, even slightly broken.