The Day I Forgot

I said “We All Remember.”

That 9/11 is one of those days that sticks out. Cannot be forgotten. Yet, as I sat in my family room, last night, with Coco, and Lou, watching an hour long show about the tragedy of 9/11, answering questions, seeing the fear, especially in Lou’s 6 year old face, I realized, I did once forget….

Seven years ago, I forgot about 9/11. I was wrapped up, in my own life, 100%.  Giving no heed to the events around me, nor, the timeline of the date. I realize how very selfish this sounds. Yet, I promise, my reasoning is justifiable….

I was very pregnant. Due in two weeks, exactly, with little Lou. I had experienced a very high risk pregnancy, with her, causing me to almost lose her at 14 weeks. Guess what….this isn’t what caused the distraction. It contributed, but, it wasn’t where the focus was completely.

My dad, who still lived back in my hometown, more than 850 miles away, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, in June, of 2008. He went from being my dad, very opinionated, spirited, yet loving me with everything he had, oh, and a royal pain in the ass, the majority of the time….to being my dad, very sick, withering away, and starting to not know whom I was, nor have the ability to even talk to me on the phone.

During one of my fathers many hospital stays I was able to speak with one of his doctors, by phone. I asked the very difficult question…..”Will my dad survive past the birth of my daughter?”

The answer, “It is highly unlikely.”

To hear that, from a doctor, about your dad, is crushing. And, to know that you are in a position that may prevent you from ever seeing him again….that may just be even more crushing.  My dad and I had many issues over the years. It is sad to say, and yet, as a result of not growing up with him, we simply did not know one another.

Despite my very high risk pregnancy, I was given permission, by my doctor, to travel back home, by plane, to visit my father. We did that in July. My dad recognized me, yet, although I was 7 months pregnant, and obviously showing, he never acknowledged my pregnant tummy. He was very confused. Coco, was his pride and joy, and, at the time, only 3 1/2. My dad interacted with Coco, yet, not in a grandfatherly way. It was a very difficult visit.

I remember the last day I spent with my dad. I remember us getting in the car, and knowing, in my heart, that I would never see him again. I would never hear his voice. I would never give him a hug. He would never again be able to piss me off, in a way that seemed reserved only for him!  The realization, that at the age of 30, that you are going to lose your father, well, what can I say, that is crushing also.

And, well, you see, the time came. Hospice said so. My stepmother emailed me, at work,  to tell me so. I never spoke with anyone at hospice, and, as such, did not realize when they said, “The time has come.”, they really meant it.

I remember sitting in my office and reading my email. Reading the words. The doctors were right, he wasn’t going to live for the birth of my daughter. My heart was right, I was never going to see him again.

My doctor was well aware of my father’s health situation. I called them to see about getting induced.  (If I couldn’t be there when he passed, I could at least be there to say goodbye, at the funeral.) We had discussed inducing me anyway, due to my complications.  I knew they would only do so a week prior to my due date.

I called my doctor, explained that hospice had said, “The time has come.”  I asked if we could set my induction for the following week.

Her response, “If you come in tomorrow morning, I will induce you then.”

My husband and I agreed that is what we should do. Coco was induced two weeks early also, his for medical reasons. It didn’t seem like a big deal to us. Getting induced would allow us to drive the 850+ miles for his funeral. Yes, that was our plan. With a brand new baby. Perhaps we were in a not very smart fog….

I called up my daycare lady, and, well, Lou would be my second baby, birthing her should be simple. Isn’t that what everyone says of second babies!  I arranged to drop Coco off at 8am and to be at the hospital by 9am. I imagined I would have a baby by late afternoon. This was the plan….what is the saying, “Make a plan and God laughs.”

I was nervous, excited, sad, worried. Golly, isn’t it enough to be pregnant. Must I have a dying father as well!  Who am I trying to kid, it sucked….it was about to suck worse….

Remember me saying that I did not realize that when hospice said, “The time has come,” that they really meant it?  I got a call, a little after midnight, on the 12th of September, from my stepmother….he was gone. My dad was dead. One day here. The next day not. I don’t even think I got a chance to say goodbye. To tell him one last final, “I love you dad.  I’m your shadow. I’m sorry we never really got to know one another.”  He was just gone. I knew, immediately, when the phone rang, that it was her, and, what she would tell me.

Later that morning, at 8am, I dropped off Coco, at daycare, and in I went to the hospital, to make it in time for my 9am induction. Sounds crazy, right?  I cannot tell you how many doctors, and nurses, came into my room asking me if I was sure I wanted to be induced, this day. My answer was always, “Yes.”  I wanted, needed, something happy to focus on. I knew my dad wouldn’t want me to cry. He would want me to be happy. So we proceeded, as planned. And, yet, little Lou, well, you see, she is stubborn, and, she had different plans. I should have known what to expect, with her personality, over her lack of coming on the 12th of September!

So, yes, I forgot the day, “We All Remember.”

I miss you, Dad. So very, very much. I wish to talk to you, to hear your voice, for you to see the young man Coco is turning into. For you to be so very proud of him, just as I am. For you to meet amazing, beautiful Lou, who is so very much like me. And, for you and I to laugh, at all the similarities between the two of us. I wish to have one more time that I could tell you I love you, and, to hear you say those words back to me….

Originally Written 12Sep15


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