My Dad, My Best Friend

My dad died a couple weeks ago on November 14th. He was 55 years old; celebrating his 55th on October 9th. I’ve been putting off writing about it. I guess I wasn’t ready to really get into it online. Not sure why, perhaps fear of losing myself again.

Before he died, in the post below this one, I’ve gotten numerous people giving me support and kindness, and many more through emails and phone calls when they had heard my dad was in hospice. One of the prevailing statements through it all was, “It’s going to be hard on you, but hang in there.” I didn’t fully understand the tough part, I thought I was doing well and I’d handle it alright. I was very, very wrong.

It hit me while at the hospice. I got there in time, too, because the day I got there was the last time he was able to talk, open his eyes, and tell me he loves me. The tumor was right under his eye, in front of his ear, and it was extremely painful for him. So he was on heavy pain medications. As a result he could barely stay awake for longer than a minute. He’d sleep, then wake up an hour or two later for a minute, then fall back asleep again.

During those precious minutes, I would hold his hand to let him know I was there. Everytime he’d manage a smile as best as he could, his eyelids half open/half closed as he made an effort to stay awake and tell me he loves me. He did this for my sister, Amanda, as well. He would grab her hand weakly, kiss it, tell her he loves her.

The next day the doctor told us that he could pass away any hour. We knew it wasn’t going to be long, but it was still a painful thing to hear. I was given a chance to talk to him alone. Even though he was asleep, the doctors said that he can still hear me. Walking in the room alone with just him and I, no family around, I let my guard down.

As soon as I came out with something to say, I just choked up. I felt my entire chest clench up, I couldn’t breath, and then it felt like I was about to burst. It was so painful sitting there next to him. A whole year of knowing he had cancer and was going to die still didn’t prepare me from such an intense feeling. I had no idea it can be that painful. That’s when I finally understood when people who had gone through a parent’s death when they say, “it’s going to be hard.”

When I was finally able to calm down enough to say something, I started off with thank you. Just thank you. You know — for bringing me into this world, for trying to be the best father he knew how even though he made mistakes, for giving me a beautiful and wonderful sister, and for loving me. I didn’t have to say all of those, because he’d know what the thank you was for.

I promised him that I am going to be a good man, and someday a good father and husband, the best I can be. That I’d look out for my mom and family. That I forgive him for all the wrongs he has done, and I hope he forgives me for the wrongs I’ve done. I kissed his forehead and told him I love him, very much.

The next three days, he never opened his eyes again. My uncle was there when he took his last breath. He said his face, filled with pain and weariness, then had a look of peace on him. He said he looked like he was on top of the world in his final two breaths. Like a signature of Heaven.

A month before he was admitted into the hospice, I spent a week with him, caring for him. As I was leaving to go back home, I knelt in front of him as he sat in the recliner that was also his bed. I hugged him, and I told him, “Thank you for being my father, and my best friend. I love you.”


7 Responses to “My Dad, My Best Friend”

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  1. I am so sorry Matt. I don’t have much to say other than you never get over it, you just learn to live with it but it just gets easier.
    The memories will become more important.

    Stay safe man.

  2. Although I am sure this was a difficult thing to write about, you did a beautiful job expressing your feelings about your father’s final days. I think it’s wonderful that you not only were able to tell him that you loved him, but that you also were able to tell your father that you forgave him for his wrongs, and ask him for forgiveness also. It’s clear that you grew to respect your father which probably meant much more to him than you realize. I’m sure he was very proud of the man you have become Matt and your right, he will live on through you in many ways. :)

  3. Cindy

    Matt, I love you. Regardless to what you’re going through personally, you always bring it to this forum where you find the most support. I love that you are able to filter through all your emotions and find the words and eloquence to paint a picture of love, compassion and enduring faith in the family that you have always held in such a high regard.

    I know only a fraction of the pain and suffering you’ve gone through in your own life. I know that there were times when your father was not the man that you wanted to be. I also know there was a time when you evolved from a slighted child into a proud man, and you forgave him for how he had wronged you.

    I have watched your evolution for a few years now. You have become a humble person. You are aware of your flaws and go out of your way to correct them. This makes you 10x the man than most. You have always been a confidant to me. You have always been a friend. And more than anything, the person that I know has never compromised what he wanted to give way to some else’s desires. I respect that of you tremendously.

    I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt and sorrow that you are feeling. I wish I could have been there for you, with you. I wish I could take the pain away.

    Horai is right. You will never get over it. It will just become a part of you. You will carry on your father’s memory now, until you die. You will suddenly find yourself understanding even more the lessons your father tried to teach you. The reality of his words will seem more profound and meaningful. You will laugh at yourself as you discover the adoption of your father’s quirks. You may look in the mirror and realize suddenly that there’s something about the way your eyes twinkle, or the way your beard grows that reminds you of him. You will find him in many ways, that directly relate to you and your life. You will cherish the thought of him, and you will feel closer to him because of it.

    (((( Matt ))))

    I love you. I hope you always know that. My love and prayers go to you and your family. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

  4. -Magic-

    In reality i know that i know little about you, i was drawn to your blogging website along time ago to hear your views and see how you live, in a non stalking sense! I feel so moved by this blog, and you had a great deal of love for your father. I, with Cindy, know little of the intense pain and anguish you must be feeling. and i admit i feel a little silly writing here, because i know that much of what i am writing is wrong because i havent experienced what you have.

    You have my utmost sympathy, think of the good times. You loved your father and he loved you back, love is eternal, ethereal, it will never disappear. Im sure that you and your dad had some great times together, you are both great people, so remember him for what he was, what he did. I found that when my nan died i cried alot. But I tried to remember the good times with her, and i found myself smiling without meaning to! Remember him in strength, the way he himself may want to be remembered.

    Again, i write like i know, but i dont. This time is fragile and different people find different ways to help them through the times of bad luck or pain. I hope things work out my friend.

  5. I came here for the mashups and stayed for the weblog.

    My condolances and I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. Barbara

    I am now older than your father. I lost my Dad when I was in my twenties and he was 58. The pain at first is as you describe, but it does get easier. Being able to say your goodbyes, forgive and ask for forgiveness will help you move on with less pain.
    At first I felt as though a hole had been ripped in my life, but gradually other people entered my life and helped to fill some of the space he left. It will never be as it was, but it is bearable.
    My condolences to you and your family.

  7. Sandra

    Hi, my name is Sandra Josephs. I am 24 years old. My Father died suddenly on November 10th 2008. He was 55 just like your Dad, but he died suddenly of a Brain Anuerysm. He was my best friend & it has been so hard to deal with my grief. I just wanted to let you know that I was touched by your story & I hope you are doing well.

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