Ronan. My father really was one of my greatest teachers in life. His lessons were not always lessons I wanted to learn as many of them were painful, but I know for a fact that they did shape me in a way that I will forever be grateful for. Our relationship was complicated to say the least, but I know he loved me with all the love he was capable of giving. He was the first person to teach me what it really meant to live of life of being as wild and free as I possibly could. I told him everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. We had no secrets from one another and I always knew I could go to him with whatever I needed to and I could always depend on him to give me the most thought-provoking, honest advice. Our relationship was so brutally honest that it often hurt, but it was a hurt that was always filled with depths of love. He was the only person in the world really that I ever fought with. I mean full on screaming fights on the phone that often ended up with him hanging up on me and me screaming to your daddy, “I’m never talking to him again!!!” Your daddy would look at me, tell me to be the bigger person and call him back which would take me a while, but I usually would do so. We would kiss and make-up, move on, but our very passionate fights would pick up the following month or so. It was always over the same things. The past he was upset about. The past that I told him he needed to get over. Me, being the parent when all I ever wanted was to be the child and have a normal father figure who did the normal things that fathers do. My father was far from the picture perfect role model of a father that I grew up longing for, but he fathered me in a way that I ended up loving, eventually accepted and admired. He was my biggest cheerleader, pushed me to pursue and chase my wildest dreams, taught me to think outside the box and to think about things with such depth that a world where things are just black and white never existed for me. He taught me this thing called “society” where everyone wants to place “rules” and “regulations” on you is pretty much bullshit and it was up to me to break free of the chains of the world that wanted to hold me down. My dad is the one who nurtured my inner rebel and taught me that it is o.k. to push boundaries, if you did so in a thoughtful way. He was so full of life, but also always embraced death and we would often have long, intellectual discussions about the after life and what he believed in. He promised me that I would get to see you again as I spent many hours on the phone screaming and crying about your life being cut way too short. My father thought about things in the world that most people don’t just due to the laziness that shoved down everyone’s throats and they happily swallow. He questioned everything about life and death and was open-minded to so many possibilities. I always loved that about him so much.
My father had been talking about his death for so long that I knew what he wanted. He had been preparing me for this day since I was a teenager. He left very specific instructions and left me in charge of everything. Even though I know I am capable of handling things, the weight of this still feels very heavy. I knew he would not want a normal funeral. I gently spoke to his wife about what I felt would he would have wanted. I told her since we were having him cremated, there was no rush to do anything. Another lesson I learned for you, Ronan. After your death, your services were so soon that I feel as if I really wasn’t as thoughtful as I could have been in regard to the beautiful life you lived. I was a walking zombie. I proposed to Carol and Uncle Shawn that instead of rushing and doing something, that we should wait until the summer and have a big party/celebration in honor of his life. I know this is what my father would have wanted as nobody loved a good party as much as he did. They both liked my idea and agreed with me so a date we will set a date soon for that.
After the funeral home ordeal, I wish I could say that I got to take a minute to break down and spend the next week that I was in Washington, properly grieving for my father the way I needed to, but that was not the case. So much had to be done. Attorneys, tying up loose ends, the strangers that I did not know who were living on his property in a freaking fifth wheel trailer. He had mentioned he had some “workers” living on his property, but I was pretty sure it was just another case of people taking advantage of my father and his big heart. I grabbed some dear friends, my brother, and we headed up to his house to secure whatever we could. Securing meaning renting a big ass U-haul to take some of his things to a storage unit, telling the “workers” they had 48 hours to vacate the property and having them tell me some story of how “someone” broke into my father’s house after hearing he had died. I went through my father’s house as quickly as possible and I saw flashbacks of my childhood all damaged, broken, and bruised. I tried to salvage as much as I could, my heart included. Some random lady followed me about as I went through my father’s house, telling me such and such belonged to some dude named “Rob.” I looked at her and freaked the fuck out. “Lady, I don’t know who the fuck you are, but as far as I’m concerned everything in this house belongs to my father. You’re lucky I don’t kick your ass out right now! If you think something belongs to “Rob” than Rob can come have a conversation with me about what is his. You all have been stealing and taking advantage of my father for years and enough is enough. It ends here! Get out of this house, get off of his property, and stop following me around!” I watched myself turn into the tough ass girl that deep down hides inside of me and doesn’t come out to play very often. I was so mad, sad, and angry for various reasons but mostly because of all the broken dreams I saw shattered around me. Dreams that my father never got to fulfill and now all that was left was a bunch of fucking crap items bought on sale that he was saving for a rainy fucking day. Thousands of books, boxes of things that had never been opened, projects unfinished, my beautiful childhood house was now full of clutter, old drawings, pictures, and scraps from my childhood that he had saved in hopes that things hadn’t turned out the way that they had.
I spent days going through as much of his things as I could. I had arranged with the funeral time a time that I could go down there and see my father. I left Poppy with your Nana and Papa to go and see him, one last time. Alone. I sat nervously in the waiting room and fidgeted with my coat. The man who was in charge of everything came to get me and told me to take as much time as I needed. I was led back to a big room that was filled with church pews and as I entered I saw my father in the front lying on a table, dressed in some hospital gown that I know he would have been pissed about. I couldn’t go to the front at first, so I took a seat in the back and while I stared at my dad.
I cried, uncontrollably.
I told him all the things I wanted to tell him, but mostly just how much I loved him. I wondered why I was sitting alone, but then I remembered that I am never alone because you are always by my side, even though I cannot see you.
I moved closer to the front and cried some more. I kept waiting for my dad to sit up because I just knew this was a sick joke that somebody was playing on me, once again.
He looked so strong. So peaceful. I begged for him to wake up. He never did.