Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love You Too, Dad

The words “I love you” has to be the most difficult three words one can possibly conjure up sometimes. It displays vulnerability, perhaps even weakness for some. For others, the fear of saying it makes them look foolish or they may just feel awkward overall. On the other hand, saying “I love you” too much loses its value somewhat and at times, it becomes inaudible; taken for granted and lost in a pile of ten million other “I love yous”. For me, I’ve always thought actions spoke louder than words, although it is nice hearing those three little words from time to time, but not necessary. Throughout my childhood, my dad never told me that he loved me. I just knew he did. He used to go out of his way to do things for us, buy us our favorite things and would take us on vacation. He treated all of us very well. Then there were times when I simply thought he didn’t love me at all. Even when I was away or someplace other than home, he would never speak to me over the phone ---ever. When I moved out in my early twenties, we never spoke over the telephone, he just said, “Hiya Deb, hold on here’s ya mudda.” And that was that.

While staying in the upstairs portion of my parents house after losing my job years ago, I had walked into an explosion: dad. He started yelling at me for not locking the doors on my way out. “Whaddya’ want the feds to come in again and raid da’ house? Wassamadda witchoo?” Knowing he was the last to leave the house, I mistakingly blurted out in anger, “I locked the doors on my way out. It was you who left last! You didn’t lock the f%cking doors, dad!” ..............Nobody talked back to dad---dare they even threw in profanities to boot. If I could only describe a 300+ lb man jumping up, and then running after me - just imagine how fast I took off running into the other living room and then fleeing out the back door into my car speeding off as fast as I can. I’m too old for this shit. I didn’t come home for two days. Mom kept calling me, “Please come home baby, he didn’t mean it. It’s fine, he’s not mad anymore.”
“What does he have to be mad at? Himself? He’s the one who forgot to lock the doors. Maybe if he wasn’t so goddamn paranoid he wouldn’t lose his temper so much!”
“He knows, he knows,” my mom would keep insisting, hoping I’d return and make up with dad.

When I arrived home, I saw dad walking around with a dish towel over his shoulder like an old housewife. He looked over at me, then looked back down at what he was cooking and said, “I made-ja’ ya favorite meal - pot roast.” Mind you, I hate pot roast, but to give you his translation: “I’m sorry for yelling at you, I made you something special to show you that I love you.” You never heard the words, “I’m sorry”, or “I love you” from dad. He just did things to show you that he did. To me, it was better than words. I looked at him and said, “Wow, thanks dad, I love pot roast!” I kissed and hugged him, knowing he wouldn’t budge to hug back, but the smile on his face meant more than anything to me. We had a great dinner and talked about everything other than what had transpired.

A few months later, when I was finally settled down into our new home, I went to go visit my parents. Upon leaving, I went to open the door, and I hear, “Hey Deb?” I looked back at my father sitting in his Archie Bunker recliner, and he says nervously, motioning his right hand as if he was weighing something out (an Italian gesture of sorts), and says, “I love you.” This was the very first time in thirty-three years I have ever...ever...heard this man say those three words to me. I stopped dead in my tracks with my mouth wide opened--not that I didn’t love him, but I felt very awkwardly paralyzed with fear. I said it back. “I-I-I- I love you too, dad.” And of course, I meant it.

Both being aware that we loved one another this entire time, I felt such happiness and also sadness - kind of like a feeling of ‘why hasn’t this been said sooner’ - but it didn’t matter. It was said. That’s all that counts. My father has been recently diagnosed with cancer. They have also found an aneurysm in his aorta that can burst at any given moment. He needs a couple of procedures done, but the one where they want to remove the aneurysm can be a bit tricky due to his weight problem. Without too many details, lately my dad has been chatting up a storm with me over the phone and ...saying... “I love you” much more than he ever did, or more like, he never did. I’ve never seen such a strong man so scared in my life, but that doesn’t make him weak at all, it makes him more human than I ever thought possible. The hardest part is watching the man who could do anything effortlessly, even a twelve hour excavation job in 105 degree weather, turn into a man who can barely bring in a couple of pieces of wood for the fire. Sometimes it takes all he has just to walk from the bedroom into the living room. Seeing dad depressed is heartbreaking. He wants to do everything for everybody, and now, he can't do much for himself at this point. Dad always - and I mean always had a fun loving spirit - always happy, telling his stories and cracking on everyone. My mom always says, “God, I wish I had his spirit, he’s never depressed.” He never was. Angry sometimes - yes. Depressed? Never. I just pray that he gets better, that God heals him and he can become that happy man once again.

Sorry for the sad post this morning. In turn, I am posting the funny video clip of my dad getting his haircut by his favorite women, telling his stories & cracking some awful politically incorrect jokes. I want this happy-go-lucky man back. Please pray for my dad?

If you cannot view the video from outside sources that mirror my blog, please click here. Warning: contents of this video may be umm...offensive. But that's dad...

To read more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com