Thursday, May 27, 2010

January 16, 2010 daddy died. He was recovering well from his bypass and strokes; using his walker to get around a bit. He, his wife, and some of her friends had gone to daddy's favorite steak place for dinner. He was drinking a beer and eating a steak. Swallowing was difficult for him since his strokes. He frequently choked and that's what happened. He choked.

God is good to me and He was good to my daddy. Daddy didn't want to linger and, in spite of his progress, he told me more than once that he was ready to "move on". He was out having a good time and apparently, was dead before he had time to realize it. The stress of choking brought on a heart attack.

I guess in all families there is stress over relationships. The days and weeks since he died, I have been at peace over his death but his wife for 29 years has wielded her sharp tongue and attempted to destroy the evidence of mine and my brothers' relationship with daddy. As much as I say I don't care, I do. Her hatred of me is palpable and while we never have been close, I never realized the depths of her feelings. I never let myself accept that she was capable of such hostility.

It makes perfect sense. I was my daddy's confidante and he never made it a secret to me that he didn't marry his second wife because he loved her. He never stopped loving my mother or the life that he had had with her. He regretted deeply that he didn't try harder to win my mother back after she left. His second wife married him to give herself, what she saw as, position in the community and daddy married her to help him financially and with his 14 year old son still living with him.

I was 20 when they married and married myself the year after they were. I see now that she counted me out from the beginning. I made it fairly easy; we live five hours away. It was easy for her to erase me from my home. But it proved impossible to erase me from my daddy's heart.

The death of my daddy and her behavior had caused me to claim that I'll never go back there. She has, as my daddy had asked me about, a life estate in the property. But never is a long time. It's part of who I am; a country girl who loves home and family. Daddy was one of ten children; the eighth to pass away. My uncle and his wife continue to live there on the road where they all grew up. Next to the house my great-grandfather built and lived in; the house where my daddy and his siblings were raised.

Daddy's wife may have erased me from my home but she hasn't erased home from me. Isn't it the way of life? Aren't we all like blades of grass, here in a moment; forgotten and gone in the next? I remain my daddy's confidante able now to remember for him the love and family that was.

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