The tears were salty and made my view blurry as I washed dishes this morning.
It was 5:30 am and I realized my dad would have turned 80 today.
I mean, I realized October 17th was coming; I was reading my devotional a couple mornings ago and thought Wow, Dad’s birthday would have been in a couple days.
This coming December 9th will mark 25 years since he was killed in that car accident and I’m still angry.
I’m angry because I didn’t get to see the driver who killed him, to look him in the face. I was pregnant, full of emotions, but crystal clear in the pain it caused. The pain that was amplified by all the other negative things going on in my 1994 life.
I have so much of my dad in me. The good and bad bits, actually.
We’d had times before when we weren’t talking, but this time became permanent. For about three months, we (and by we, I mean I) tried to out-do each other with our silence. My parents had a rotary phone and no answering machine; somehow — likely a special ring I wasn’t aware of — ensured my dad never answered the phone when I called.
I would call to update my mom on the pregnancy, wondering what I’d say if my dad answered instead.
He never did.
December 9th came and I’d never have to wonder, because he’d never answer any calls again.
I wasn’t allowed to go to court when the date came for the driver. I was pretty pregnant by then (whatever that means, since my son was born a preemie and I only ever bought like two official maternity items). I envisioned what it would be like for me to walk into that room and tell what that day had been like for me: how I’d tried to call my mom, but her office switchboard wouldn’t connect me; how my boss caught me sneaking a cup of coffee, took me in her office, and how she and the school principal had to tell me my dad was dead; how they wouldn’t let me drive myself home because I was pregnant; how they didn’t know the first husband’s work number; how when I told him there’d been an emergency and that he had to come get me but he wouldn’t until I told him what had happened; how I jumped in the car and drove to my mom as soon as I could; and what it was like, sleeping on the couch in the house I grew up in as plans were made for my dad’s funeral.
I was angry all day.
I’m still angry.
I cried this morning because of it, and because there have been so many things that I haven’t been able to talk to my dad about over the past 25 years.
I cried because September 1994 wasn’t just any ordinary month, another time that we both were stubborn. It was the end of a very important part of … me.
A part I didn’t realize was so important until it was too late.
There are other bits to the story that aren’t necessary right now, but suffice it to say that despite it all, I’m hopeful.
Sad and angry, but hopeful.