>Yesterday one of my friends from work informed us that his mother passed away the night before. When he came in I could tell he was not his normal chipper self but I wouldn’t have guessed his mom had died. He was holding it together so well. He told us that she was old, in her 80’s, and he knew it was coming. It really surprised me how well he was doing… though, I’m sure appearances are deceiving.

Today we bought him a card and some coffee…. we couldn’t really think of anything else to accompany the card. After we purchased it, we went to where he was and gave them to him. He seemed so thankful… it felt good to give him something to smile about.

However, in the same moment he was thanking us, he took a drink of his coffee… and burnt his mouth. Being the funny guy he is.. he of course made a joke about it and we all laughed. He proceeded to tell us a story about his mom when he was a child and sat his drink down. Unfortunately, he set it on the edge of something and it tipped… shooting the coffee at his groin.

We were way worried that he burned himself badly…. but in true form… he made another joke. After we were sure he was ok… it was quite funny. It looked like he had peed himself… and funny because this nice, thoughtful thing we were trying to do…. ended up being something painful for him. We got a good story to tell from it though.

I had later talked to him and asked him how he was doing and when he was heading down for the funeral. We chatted a bit… he told me he was going to speak at the service. He had been trying to think of things to say and said he was going write it down later today. I told him about when my father died and about my experience, hoping in some way he could see I understood what he was going through.

My father and I were never very close. When I became an adult we had a better relationship, but it still could not be described as a good relationship. Still, he was my father and I respected him for that.

I had moved away about a year before he passed away…. almost 3,000 miles away. I think that I took away the few things he had left to live for. See, my parents had me when they were older (mom was 35 and my dad I believe was 54). So by the time he died he was well into his 70’s. I honestly am surprised he lived that long. He was a smoker till I was twelve and drank my whole life. He was such a drunk that in his late years, he lived in a nursing home and they would allow him two drinks a day because his body depended on it. It just simply could not go without the alcohol.

I think his alcoholism is part of the reason we had such a strained relationship, that and the fact that we’re both very stubborn people. Needless to say… when my mother called and said he had died, all of this stuff did not matter. It did not matter all the horrible things he had done or said. He was my dad and he had just left this world. I cried, but not hard. This didn’t surprise me either.

We had the memorial service a month later so that I wouldn’t have to pay a large sum of money for a plane ticket because at the time I was in college. I flew back alone and stayed with my mom, which was not fun… yet this is another story… one I do not think I wish to tell.

Dad was cremated. His remains were on the shelf in the computer room… which was kind of creepy to me. Mom carried his ashes, I could not seem to bring myself to do this. We had the service at his nursing home…. and few people were there. This made me sad.. that his imprint on life was so small.

My brothers from my dad’s previous marriage came. I had only met them maybe two times and had not seen them since I was eleven. Now I was a grown woman… living my own life. It was odd. It was like being around a parent… since there were that age. We had old pictures Dad from his Navy days and life before and after I was born. My brothers told me stories of what he was like when they were children.. that he was a preacher. I knew this… but it seemed so foreign to me. He was certainly not that man for me…. and part of me was very jealous of this fact.

I wondered what had happened between his divorce to their mom and marrying mine. What happened to him to take him down the road of drinking… apparently this information I will never know. It seems no one knows.

The preacher at the nursing home got up and spoke about my father. I sobbed… the grief hit me like a brick wall and I was taking it way harder than I thought. Apparently being there made it real… made it real that I would never again see my Dad.

I had said I wanted to speak.. and got up to do so. I cried so hard it was hard to get anything out… I was a wreck… and thinking back its kind of embarrassing.. but I’m sure no one thought poorly of me for it.

After the service, I said my good bye’s to brothers.. knowing that I would most likely never see them again. We exchanged numbers… they told me to call if ever I needed anything. They did not seem like my brothers… they knew next to nothing about me. I have not seen them since… this was six years ago. I am at peace with this, though.

Its funny how funerals happen and they bring people together you’d not see otherwise. It is so sad to think that such a sad moment has to happen before relatives come together. I wish I had a relationship with my brothers…. I wish I had a better one with my parents… yet these things will not happen. Perhaps they aren’t meant to happen. I guess I will never know.

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