I’ve had two very best friends in my life. My dad and my husband. Sure, I’ve had others who I’ve called my “best friend,” one friend since I was five and one I’ve had since my freshman year of college fit into that category. They were both in my wedding and we still keep in touch and all, but when I think of people I could really talk to and bear my soul with, only my dad and my husband fall into that category. It sounds weird, I know, that my dad would be my best friend, but it’s completely true. We were just alike–he used to say we shared a brain–so we could talk for hours. When I was home, we’d stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning listening to music and watching funny videos on YouTube or talking about religion and philosophy and politics and life and everything. Until I met Hubby, my dad was the only person I could be involved in a deep conversation with one minute, then laughing at Chappelle Show or something the next.
Unfortunately, as you probably guess, I lost my dad–three years ago this coming Sunday (June 24), around 6:30p.m. So, this is a hard week for me. Father’s Day sucks because I have no one left to celebrate. My last Father’s Day with my dad was spent in the hospital. In case you’re wondering, he was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer) just six months prior, and was 43 when he died. This year Father’s Day and the 24th, what I call my Dark Day, are exactly a week apart.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Daddy, but I’ve been especially thinking about him a lot lately. Whenever I go through something difficult or trying, or whenever I have great news or a big decision, I want to call my dad. The last couple of weeks have sucked. Hubby was out of town and the car had problems and I’ve had issues with a co-worker who is driving me up the wall, one thing after another, and I’ve just wanted to vent to my dad.
Thanks to the car problems, Hubby and I are looking for a new one, my first new car actually, and Daddy is the one person I want to consult. I actually almost picked up the phone to call him the other day (I found a Maserati sedan for $44k and joked with Hubby about buying it–yeah, I’m a total car girl–and I wanted to kid around with Daddy and dream of the expensive sports cars we would love to have but can’t afford, and honestly can’t justify even if we could afford them!). In the last year we bought our first house, which is another moment I wanted to share since my dad never owned property. Even silly things like a song I think he would love make me want to call him. Want to hear a crazy coincidence? Wednesday night we listed my car on Craigslist. An hour later I had a text from a guy who wanted to see it. The guy pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot with a woman and gave the car a once over with Hubby, leaving me and his girlfriend standing off to the side talking. Turns out, she knew my parents–they graduated high school together. Of course she knew about Daddy’s illness and everything. It was completely random. They’d been glancing at Craigslist every few days. We live almost 100 miles from my hometown, by the way. It was just another reminder of him this week.
What prompted this more personal than normal blog post was my terrible day yesterday. It’s like my body knows my heart’s pain. I woke up yesterday morning with a migraine. I described it as an evil invisible dwarf hammering railroad spikes into my skull. It wasn’t the worst I’ve endured, but I didn’t get vertical until around 2:30 and didn’t turn on the lights until 4:30. I’d never experienced a migraine until right after my dad died. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning one day with a jackhammer in my skull, and worse, with no feeling in the right half of my body. Hubby woke up and asked what was wrong, but I couldn’t speak. We raced to the hospital, afraid it was a stroke or something even though I was only 26. It happened again a few days later, except the left side of my body went numb. I saw various doctors and underwent MRIs and scans, etc, etc, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. By the time the next one occurred, numbing my entire upper half, I had begun putting the pieces together.
Migraines sometimes come with auras. They can be things like seeing colors around people and objects or zig-zag lines. Then there’s this thing called a Hemiplegic migraine, which produces stroke-like symptoms including body numbness and slurred speech. (Funny note, apparently June is migraine awareness month. Yesterday, I wasveryaware!). After those three, the Hemiplegic migraines stopped. I’ve gotten bad headaches, but only a couple in true migraine territory. They haven’t come with the numbness, but they’ve been up there in the pain category. Yesterday’s got me wondering if the migraines are connected with my grief.
It’s not that I haven’t “moved on.” After a few months of being unable to do anything, I picked up and carried on with life, and life has been pretty good. Overall, I’ve been happy, is what I’m trying to say. But there is always a hole, a gap that will never get filled. I think of life like a puzzle. It starts with a handful of pieces that make a small section, and as you grow and age you find more pieces and fit them into their slots. By the time you die you have a finished picture. Except sometimes with puzzles, you lose pieces, or they get bent or wet, or something and they don’t fit just right.
For one year, my puzzle was almost perfect. I’d married the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, that one puzzle piece that filled a hole I didn’t know existed. Then a year later, another big piece disappeared. Daddy had said it was a balance. He told me he felt comfortable leaving me because I had Hubby, I had someone else to lean on. I guess he’s right, but there will always be a giant hole in my puzzle (there are other big holes, where my grandfathers were and other important people in my life, but no one played as big a role as Daddy). And this week, that hole is more apparent. Sure, I have happiness and joy in my life. Today or tomorrow we’re buying the car, which I am completely excited about. I’m working on a new story that I absolutely love and have high hopes for, and there are so many good things in my life. But no matter how great things are, my happiness will always be tempered with missing my dad, because I will always want to share it with my best friend.