• The Heart Attack

    by  • April 3, 2011 • Family Stuff, Grief, Parents, Those Gone Before Us • 11 Comments

    When I was 15 my father died. This in itself is not a rare statement. Fathers die, at some point all fathers die. My father was a father in the basic sense. He was there at my conception, assuming my mother never lied to him; he was there for my birth, assuming he never lied to me. I’m not sure how he died.

    My mother said he had a heart attack. His wife said his liver failed. His girlfriend said he died of a passion so strong no man could bare it and he simply stopped breathing.

    The autopsy ruled it suicide.

    So there I was, 15 years old, slightly overweight, bad skin and a dead father. My father and mother never married, not each other anyway. My father was married to his wife when I was born. Alice was old and fat. She was completely miserable, and understandably hated me and never let me forget it. My mother, Cathie, didn’t find out about poor, fat Alice till I was 1 and she crashed my birthday party loaded up on vodka and KFC. The pictures from that party are rather amusing.

    From then, there was no more love between my father and mother. My mother was furious, and in the years that followed refused to let my father take me out of her sight. Partly because she didn’t trust my father, partly because she didn’t want Alice to eat me.

    Eventually, I began to spend weekends with my father. I hated those weekends. My parents loved them. My father had to pay less child support, my mother had an entire weekend to screw whatever boyfriend she had picked up for the month.

    My father loved me though. That I knew. My mother loved me too. I never doubted that.

    Once when I was 13 I asked Alice why she didn’t leave my father when she found out I existed. She told me I didn’t have that much power over her life and that one day when he realizes I was a mistake my father was going to love her again. Dad said he never loved her said she didn’t leave because she had no where else to go.

    Some time after that he started seeing Starla, the ex- stripper turned flight attendant from Nebraska. She was six years older than me. Thirteen years younger than my mother and twenty years younger than the miserable, even fatter Alice. Starla used to bring me airplane sized bottles of run and gin, I liked her.

    Dad left Alice. Moved in with Starla. Alice never signed the divorce papers, she was convinced he was coming home to her. My mother was angry, he never left Alice for her, so I didn’t see my father for a bit after that.

    May 21st, he was waiting when I got out of school. He was leaning up against the passenger side of his crappy old mustang. His stomach had distended into a pleasant old man belly and his hair was thinning on the top, greying everywhere else. He was wearing a black tshirt and faded jeans. He smiled. He asked if we could go for ice cream, like we never did when I was little. I laughed, sure dad.

    We drove in silence. Not even the radio was on, like it should have been. We ate and talked. I had mint chocolate chip, he had pistachio.

    Parked in front of my mother’s house, my dad looked over at me. This time he didn’t smile. You know, he said, maybe there was a point to all this. I looked at him, to what dad? To all this, he said, always remember that there are things worth fighting for, and things that aren’t. Remember that, will you? Sure dad, though I had no idea what he was talking about. He went on, I’ve made some mistakes, you’re not one of them. Be strong for your mother ok, she needs you. I may be going away for a bit. He wouldn’t tell me where. Just on business he said, just on business. I got out of the car and walked up to my house. I turned around and he had already driven off.

    That night, I went to a party with my friends, My father checked into a motel off the highway. I should have known that he was going to have a heart attack that night. I should have known that his liver was going to fail. I should have known that he would just stop breathing. I should have known, should have stopped him. I didn’t know. I didn’t stop him.

    I never told my mother, or Alice or Starla. I never told anyone, that maybe deep down I knew. I don’t know if I knew. I don’t want to know.

    When I was 15 my dad died. The autopsy ruled it suicide.

    11 Responses to The Heart Attack

    1. Kim
      April 3, 2011 at 2:07 am

      Dear child, Your father loved you and you loved him. I hope you realize that.

    2. anotherstranger
      April 3, 2011 at 2:33 am

      oh honey, besides having a dad who did love you, you also have a gift. You write really beautifully, you have made me cry today. Take that gift, and craft something extraordinary from a life that perhaps didnt start too auspiciously. And be kind to yourself, nourish your soul, dont reproach yourself for something you had no control over. Sending you metaphorical hugs….

    3. TrueHeart
      April 3, 2011 at 4:12 am

      You are not alone. Im a 19year old woman too. I am lost. Ive made mistakes that make me cry. I did try killing myself 3 times. Then I realized that even with the problems I am facing from inside my mind, I have to overcome it. I have to fight it so that I know I never gave up. You are much better than all of this. You can do what you know will help you forever. Do that. And I pray that you will always be happy. always

    4. fjolla
      April 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Your father is in heaven right now because of you, and should be PROUD WHAT DAUGHTER DID HE HAD!!!!

    5. Cat
      April 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      I just have To tell you that you are an awesome writer! I was totally engrossed.

    6. Looloo
      April 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      Boooo hoo.

    7. Amy
      April 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Ignore the twat with the post above mine. (Looloo)
      Firstly wow, your story is such a touching one that I could not pass by without comment. It was not your responsibility to know, and you should feel no blame on yourself. There was nothing that you should or could have done differently. Your Father gave you some advice, and you should keep those words with you. That from the sum of all of his life is what he wanted to give to you.

      Fight for what matters to you, and make clean break aways from the things that don’t. He chose to spend some of his last hours with you. He most obviously loved you.

      Now its your turn to learn from the mistakes made in the past, and build upon the positive for your future.

    8. Bug
      April 7, 2011 at 7:29 am

      Keep writing, please.

    9. joe
      April 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      there’s nothing to be said about your story…

      you have a gift with the written word. pursue it.

    10. KatieLou
      April 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Absolutely brilliant writing! I admire your courage to share this with the whole world. It will have magical healing powers for you. KEEP WRITING! It was clear to me and seems like everyone that has commented that your father loved you deeply. Cherish that. I am a stepmother of three girls and one boy. The girls all treat their loving father very poorly, I believe because they don’t know how bad it could be. I was very touched by the fact that you didn’t demonize your father and I applaud you on seeing the facts of the story and writing without prejudice. You have a lot of fans and I too am sending you lots of metaphorical hugs 🙂 And please do ignore the twat Looloo who is obviously a Loo looser!!

    11. Sarah
      April 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Your mother and father both still love you, no matter where they are. You have a talent with words. You should write a life story. I would buy it. You will achieve great things in life, I can tell. I don’t mean to sound like a fortune cookie, I just think it’s true. Best of luck out in the world.
      P.S. I wish there were more extraordinary people like you.

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