How would you feel if you didn’t know your father well enough to plan his final services as he would have liked?
I was a Daddy’s Girl for about six years of my life. I was his shadow until my parents separated. After that, our relationship was rocky. He often used me to hurt my mother’s feelings by not showing up when he said he would come to get me. After several disappointments, I cut off contact with him when I was old enough to decide whether I wanted to keep trying to visit him.
Still, he remained a fantasy in my mind. I thought he was the piece missing from my happiness. If I could just have a relationship with him, everything would be perfect.
I used to dream about him apologizing for his absence and then we would reconnect the way they did in the movies. He would become the father of my dreams. I always thought if he just got to know me and see who I had become, then he would realize he was missing out and would want to become an active participant in my life. He would have to love me back when he saw how wonderful I had become. That never happened. We made attempts to reconnect over the years, but they always ended in my disappointment.
When I was 28 years old, I received a call from a doctor at a hospital in San Diego. I sat bolt upright as the doctor explained that my father was in the intensive care unit on life support. He had had an asthma attack and was in a coma for a couple days. I was the next of kin and the one who had to make the decision as to whether they should continue care or turn off his ventilator. Imagine being the one to decide whether someone lived or died, someone whom you hadn’t seen or spoken to in 10 years. My first reaction was to do nothing. I told the doctor to keep him on life support while I figured out what I should do. The doctor was very understanding and asked me to call him back when I knew what I wanted to do.
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Repost of Column Post at Goodmen Project by Dyanne Brown