It’s November 16. That means I’ll look at my agenda and it will say “call Gramma”. Not why, just to call. If I can’t remember why, then she has full permission to egg my house. You’ll find the note ten days later again. Why?

Today is six years from the day my dad passed away. So today is the day that my Gramma needs me the most. In ten days, it’s the anniversary of his funeral, so she needs me then too. I don’t have anyone calling me, I don’t think I’ve ever remembered to call my brothers on this day, but at least twice a year, I’m a good granddaughter.

A post today by Eggs In A Row talked about being torn as to what to do about her father contacting her.

My response (plus a little extra)

My dad and I had an awful relationship when I was younger. My mom left him when I was 10 and he avoided me most of the time, making excuses not to see me and my brothers. He moved away and my older brother kept contact with him. Sometimes he’d call on my birthday or christmas (not always). My little brother got to know him a little better once he was a teenager. But me? I look like my mom, a lot, and my dad was so awkward around me and spent a lot of time avoiding me because of it (that and I wasn’t afraid to tell him when he was being an ass or childish). Of course, that’s on top of other issue that we had just to make it extra fun.

But ten years ago, when my Hubby (boyfriend then) came to live with my family until we found an apartment, my dad showed up on the door step to see if my brother wanted to drive to Saskatchewan with him for a visit (doesn’t everyone drop by to see if you want to take a 6 hr car ride for shits and giggles?) and he met Hubby. He was the first boyfriend of mine (or friend past childhood even) that had ever met my dad. Kinda seemed like a sign, lol. With encouragement from him, I saw my dad a few times and tried to mend our relationship.

My dad was very sick and slowly dying from Polysistic Kidney Disease and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince him to move closer so I could help him out. I was just getting to know him again and we talked every few months and saw each other once a year. Then 6 years ago (today actually) he passed away. It wasn’t the PKD, it wasn’t even the blood infection that hospitalized him. He had a heart attack while I was trying to get on a plane so that I could be with him when/ if he died. I never got to say goodbye, I never got to see his body to confirm in my head that he was gone. But I did get to tell him that I loved him no matter what (and there was a LOT of “what” in there) and he got to tell me that I would always be his little girl.

I know it sounds cheesy, but just think, what could you live with. If you could live with leaving it be, then go ahead. But if it would break your heart to have him (or you for that matter) pass with the way things are, then do what you can. Trying isn’t going to make things perfect, but a “you drive me crazy, hurt me and lots of times I REALLY don’t like you, but you’re my daddy and I love you and I do want things to be better between us” still lets them know you care.

I’ll never really clue in to my dad being gone…not all the way. I don’t have too many  times anymore when I think “I haven’t talked to him in a while” or “why hasn’t he called in so long?” or just “I wonder if he’s doing ok?”. I have the awkwardness of trying to get my son to understand that Grampa is not actually my dad, but a man that passed away before he was born. It doesn’t help that my dad and step-dad can be mistaken for each  other in pictures by even family members, so telling him “that’s not Grampa, that’s Grampa K___, my daddy” has caused issue a couple times. I never got to meet my dad’s dad and my son will never get to meet mine. Kinda depressing. But so far there is no sign that I’ll be passing PKD on to my children so that’s one less strike to the pattern continuing on.

I miss my dad. No, I didn’t get along with him well, but I do have some fond memories. He didn’t know what to do with me past childhood, so the one time he saw me sick as a teenager (I think 17 or 18) he tied me up in a blanket, plopped me on the couch and spoon fed me greek salad (I had no arm access). I found it too endearing to be annoyed. The last time I saw him was a year before he died. It was the day before my older brother’s wedding and I had been up all night because he hadn’t showed up at the bus depot when he was supposed to. Or on the next bus. Not answering his phone. His landlord and friend couldn’t get ahold of him, and the hospital said he hadn’t come in. I was convinced that he died on his way home from dialysis or was laying beaten in an alley somewhere. Finally the next morning, the bus rolls in and off he comes like nothing is wrong. I had a HUGE hissy fit crying in the middle of the bus station and yelling at him and he just gets a big grin on his face because he saw that I cared. So ya, he laughed and smiled and hugged me like I’d given him a present even though I was probably embarrassing him. Somehow, that’s a happy memory for me.

He’s the crazy man that taught me to shoot when I was five, that convinced me that making itchiban was a valued skill in a caregiver (aka me caring for him), that fed me squirrels that my brother shot (ok meal for a little kid, lol) and kept the actual boogie man in the basement to scare us (the family is known for wacked senses of humour) and bad and all, he helped me become the person I am and I wouldn’t ever ask for a different dad.