I miss my dad terribly.
My dad died seven months ago at age 86 from congestive heart failure. I was his caregiver and his only child. He raised me by himself when my parents divorced when I was only five years old. Since that time he has been my best friend and my hero. We lived in the same house for 55 years. I was a caregiver for several other elderly relatives through the years so I stayed home a lot and that's why my father and I were very close.
He taught me to like all the things he liked. We were crazy about movies and music. We watched at least one movie together almost every day of our lives. We loved the old music from the twenties and thirties. We played music together, sang together and understood each other better than most people understand each other. Now I'm alone for the first time in my life, no husband, no children, no close friends who share my interests. I feel like my real life ended with his and I'm just going through the motions. I miss my dad so much, it's hard to describe just how much. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone who will be as much fun to be with as he was. I'm not saying we didn't have problems. We certainly did, but we always knew we could trust each other. Now it's just me by myself with nobody on my side. I have a half brother and cousins but they have their own families to bring them joy. They don't need me.
My dad never graduated from high school, but he was a very cultured gentleman. He taught me to appreciate classical music, the arts, ballet, opera, musical theater, and classic films, including silent films, early talkies, old westerns, serials and foreign films. He loved Masterpiece Theatre and all those wonderful BBC adaptations of classic literature. The local people I meet hardly like any of these things.
In the last seven months, I have not been able to watch movies without missing my father. I rarely turn on the tv anymore. I hardly ever play music. Sometimes the only sound I hear is the whoosh of cars passing on the freeway below and the occasional howling of dogs in the distance.
I think of my dear father and how I'll never see him smile again. To think I'll never watch a movie with him or listen to a favorite song together again breaks my heart and the tears come streaming down. I watched him suffer in the hospital and heard him beg for God's mercy, because he could hardly breathe -- this dear man who was the nicest person I've ever known. I thought they would be watching him in the Intensive Care but they weren't. I had to sleep sometime and there was no one to stay with him when I couldn't be there. I feel like I failed to protect him. I don't think the hospital tried hard enough to save him. It would take too long to explain. All I know is that my life will never be the same without him.
I want to believe in the promise of eternal life, but there are so many interpretations of the bible, I don't know what to believe anymore. My dad was Catholic and I feel bad that he wasn't able to confess his sins to a priest. The priest gave him the Last Rites when he was sedated on the ventilator. When he was awake and weaned off of it, I asked the priest to return but it was Christmas Day and no one was available. My poor dad died without the spiritual comfort of a priest. He was praying "God have mercy" like a mantra, until a male nurse told him, "God is good, my friend." That seemed to comfort him. Once the morphine kicked in, he seemed comfortable, like his old self again, but then he slipped into unconsciousness. I watched him die for 36 hours straight in Comfort Care. I did not want to leave him alone again. I could not trust the hospital anymore. Finally, I fell asleep in the chair and that's when he left this world. It's as if he waited for me to fall asleep. I know he wanted to live for my sake as well as his own. We were looking forward to the spring. There were so many things I had hoped he would get to enjoy, but we ran out of time. Every time I see or experience something he would have liked, it makes me sad.
I have tried going to five churches, four therapists, and three support groups, but I still feel sad and lonely. People tell me to get a cat, but I don't want a pet, I want my dad back. I have signed up for various dating sites, but nobody shares my interests. Everybody wants someone who laughs. I can still laugh and smile, but deep down I feel like my life is empty and meaningless. It's terrible knowing that there is no one in the world who loves me. I grew up with my father, my grandmother, and my great uncle. I was needed and loved. I also had lots of older friends and relatives who were fun to be with, but they're all gone now. There are people in my life who like me but they don't love me. They wouldn't miss me if I died, because they don't need me. The past was so much happier than my life now. My father is the one person who made my life worth living, and without him, I feel lost and haunted by the past happiness I know can never be again.
My mother passed away just two months before my father, so I'm an orphan now. My mother was a narcissist who never really loved me, so I don't miss her the way I do my father. I loved my dad so much, and we were so close we could sometimes read each other's minds, but I don't sense his presence anymore, although I dream about him fairly often. Even though we enjoyed many years together, it seems like the years went by too quickly. There is so much more I would like to talk to him about and movies I want to see with him. He was unique and irreplaceable. If I had known how hard it is to find love and friendship in this world, I would have loved and appreciated him even more. I feel bad because I took his love for granted sometimes. I regret every word I ever said to him in anger. I always apologized right away, but I wish I could have been the perfect daughter he deserved. Is it possible to atone for the past? Is this why I keep crying my eyes out, hoping that God will forgive me? I went to confession with a Monsignor, but I still feel guilty. I know my father has already forgiven me, but can I forgive myself? Even though I was with him every day, I feel I should have spent even more time with him, instead of on my hobbies. I should have made him exercise more and eat more vegetables. I should not have let him cheat on his low sodium diet. I should have realized that every moment with him was a precious gift that I would never have again. I used to complain about my life sometimes, but I should have just been happy he was with me. My life was heaven before, compared to how I feel now, so I feel I did something terribly wrong. Why can't I feel I did my best for him? I know I did more for him than most daughters do for their parents, but I feel no satisfaction, only sadness and regret.