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Never

He was tall, and strong, and he could do anything. I keep thinking those words, over and over again. He was smart, he could make anything. That was what my daddy was, to me, when I was younger. And if it turned out later that he wasn’t tall, god was he strong.

He was depressed. Very depressed. He worked for years and years at a job he didn’t like, a job I think he hated (he never said). He did it, though. He didn’t even graduate from high school, but he worked hard and kept working to give his family a very comfortable life, moving up and up, to jobs he liked less that paid better. Even when I moved to Japan, my parents loaned me money to get set up here–loaned me money when I was 30, for god’s sake.
And all that while, all that work, all that effort, quietly depressed. Not until my sister and I were out of the house, at college, did he stop. When he couldn’t get out of bed anymore. That’s the first I knew of it. He did get better when he left that job. His company managed to screw him out of the bulk of his pension and he still had to work. He still seemed happier than before. I hope he was happy. He deserved it.
I’ve had shitty jobs, and I’ve dreaded getting out of bed to go to them, and I’ve been depressed. I’ve never felt as bad as he must have, though, and I could never have managed to keep going as long as he did. He was strong.

He only just finally retired a few months ago. He wasn’t old yet. He were supposed to have more time. He was finally supposed to get to enjoy life without having to take care of everything. More time. I keep thinking those words, too. More time. Time for me to grow up more, to be better at telling people that I care, be better at being human. Time for me to tell him how much I appreciated everything he did for us. How much I knew it must have took from him. How much I loved him.

It was a heart attack. They say it was instantaneous, that he didn’t feel anything. I was asleep when my mom called. It was early here. It was yesterday there. That’s what the world clock on my phone said when I looked, later, before calling again. San Antonio: 10:00 Yesterday. And if only I could call yesterday, I could have told him. I always meant to call, to email. I was too tired, or busy, or just lazy. Even when I called and we talked, I don’t think I ever told him how much I appreciated him. I hope he knew, but I don’t know how he would have. I don’t think I ever told him. I always meant to do it tomorrow. Now my dad is dead and there will never be a tomorrow with him in it. Just yesterday, and you can’t call yesterday.

It would be wonderful to be religious right now, to have something to tell myself other than: He was tall, and strong, and he could do anything. I love you, Dad. Thank you, Dad.
Because it’s no good, telling myself that. It’s no good writing it here. I should have told him, and now I never can. That word, that awful word, underneath all the others, stopping me mid-sentence, making my head ache, knocking me down in the hallway. When will I talk to him again? When will he make another pumpkin pie? When will I hug him? When can he relax and be happy? When can I tell him those things I should have? Never. Never, never, never, never.

Call your dad, OK?

Filed by shaun at October 14th, 2010 under indifferenthonest

I will.

Shaun, I’m so sorry. I hope your mom and sister are doing okay, and I hope you’ll be okay. I don’t live far from San Antonio, and though I don’t know what I could really do, let me know if there is anything.

Comment by alison — 14 Oct 2010 @ 2:23 pm

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