A passing day...7:17:00 PM
February 10th I noticed a message posted from my aunt saying "All 'M' family contact each other immediately." My heart stopped for a second and I thought..."Oh no. My Grandma Kitty has passed away." I tried to call my Aunt but the line was busy. I then noticed I had a Facebook message. It read "Ben has had a heart attack and passed away." I stared at the screen for a second and typed in my status "OMG My dad is dead".
Lets take you back 30 some odd years ago. My mom and my biological dad met in sunny San Francisco while my dad was in the Navy. (He was in the Army prior to the Navy) A romance blossomed and my dad decided he wanted out of the Military. He let his Commanding Officers conveniently hear a conversation about him sleep walking. Sleep walking + Navy = big fat no! They stayed a short time in Oregon and then he and my mom flew to Illinois to live. Never married, they became pregnant with me. My dad started to disappear for days at a time. Leaving my mom alone. Things progressed and when my mom was 6 months along with me my Grandma sent her a plane ticket and she never looked back.
32 years ago tomorrow, I was born. My birth certificate does not list my father. My mom raised me all on her own.
Working 2 jobs, struggling to get by. I dreamt about my dad. I used to think he would come and everything would be magical and we would have a real family.
By the time I was in the 8th grade, that reality never happened. I was finally comfortable with it just being US. My mom and I against the world. She was my mom and my dad. She did everything times 10. Then I remember late one night I could hear my mom whispering on the phone. I thought it was weird and thought it was even weirder she was talking about...me.
The next day she asked if I would want to talk to my dad. That they had found each other and it was up to me if I would want to start a relationship with him. I was so excited. Scared to death, but incredibly excited! FINALLY! He found me! He wanted ME!! My dad! We used to go to Skate World a lot (I was pretty good if I do say so myself!) and we just so happened to be going there. My mom let me call him from the pay phone and I just remembered being on cloud 9! The only thing I found weird, was he told me he loved me. I remember asking my mom how could he love me if he didn't even know me? And did I have to tell him that too? She was amazing throughout the whole start of or relationship. She never said a bad thing about him. She was there holding my hand every step of the way. I used to listen to this song and felt like it was OUR song. Still makes me think of my dad.
THEN...she met...HIM! I was so angry and filled with rage. I mean come on. I already HAD a dad (finally) and I sure as heck didn't need another one! Not only that, he was disrupting OUR time. It was my mom and ME...remember! Saturday dates were OUR thing. I was a nightmare for him...the man that tried so hard. It took me years to realize that HE was my dad. My mom and who I consider my dad got married right after I finished my 8th grade year of school. I held a lot of resentment.
I was close to my biological dad all throughout high school. But had still never had a face to face. Lots of pictures, phone calls and letters (which I would later find out were written by my step mother...she is extremely sweet but it was so disheartening to find out. Literally it broke a piece of my heart that day). My 17th birthday rolled around and I received a ring. An amethyst birthstone ring for my "sweet 16". It broke my heart. I was 17. Not 16. My relationship with my dad became more and more strained from that point. He would call one day and then he wouldn't call for like 6 months. But when he would talk to me it was like no time had passed at all. It hurt. He never showed up for my graduation. And then fast forward to my wedding...he never showed up then either. I remember one year him getting mad at me for not calling him on fathers day. I was SO angry. I mean why would I call someone who hadn't even been a "dad" to me? The last straw for me was when Paul and I were leaving for our honeymoon for St. Lucia in the Caribbean. We had a 3 hour lay over in Chicago, IL. The plan was we were going to spend the time with my dad Ben. He was going to meet there and we were going to FINALLY see each other face to face. I was nervous and excited and then we landed. I checked my cell phone voicemail cause he was going to tell me where to meet him. The voicemail was there...but instead it said he wasn't going to be able to come. They were moving that day instead. It broke my heart. My whole life I wanted HIM. And he wasn't there for me. I had rejected the man who acted and truly WAS my father for all those teen years for THIS person? I was angry. I remember sitting and writing a letter to him. The letter was nothing but pure hatred and I regret it to this day. I have no idea if he received the letter but I assumed he did.
I spent 1/2 of my life staring at the pictures of my biological dad. I knew I looked a lot like him and I would try to figure out which features exactly we shared. I have his chin, his ears, his face, his skin, his teeth. But I have my mama's eyes!
2 years ago at Thanksgiving I was talking to my Aunt in Missouri (my bio dad's sister) and my Grandma Kitty we were told wasn't doing well and the doctors didn't think she would make it past the holidays. I jumped on an airplane that next weekend to finally meet some of my family for the first time face to face. It was important to me to meet my Grandma Kitty who I absolutely adored before something terrible happened. It was just Noah and myself that flew out.
I had a great trip. My family was extremely supportive of the fact that I didn't want to use this trip to have my face to face with Ben. To me it wasn't the time. Paul kept telling me I should just do it. What if I never get the chance again. I stood my ground even when he showed up at my aunts house (we weren't there). I lost my chance. I did speak to him on the phone that trip. He called while I was at the hospital with my cousin seeing Grandma. I cried and my face was beat red (Mandy said my face was completely flushed and pale the second she handed the phone to me...but I felt red hot!).
Now we come to a few weeks. I read the message and I about fainted. I couldn't breath. I was so upset, distraught and couldn't focus. My dad was dead. He was gone. I will never get the chance to hear his voice say "Well...I love you" again. I will never ever in my life get to look into his eyes. He will never meet his grandchildren face to face and I will never be able to be wrapped in his arms for a hug. I let anger get the best of me. I am not the type of person to hold a grudge. It is not who I am! I instead let the devil get the best of me. I should have instead been praying about it. I had been. But not nearly hard enough.
Ben was out on my Uncle's ranch working on some spindles he was making for their front porch. He had a conversation with my uncle 4 hours prior to his death. He sounded great. 2 hours later he spoke with my step mother. He told her his chest had been hurting, his arm was bugging him and that he decided he would go take a little rest before the 2 hour drive home. That would be the last time she spoke to him. She said his speech sounded slurred and he didn't sound like he felt very well. She tried to reach him because she noticed he had called 15 minutes prior. When she couldn't get a hold of him she called my uncle who then called a neighbor. The neighbor found my dad in the house. The Sheriff and ambulance arrived shortly after and he was pronounced dead on the spot.
My next Facebook post read: "