11 Years. Sounds like forever but in my world, it feels like it was just yesterday.
Losing my dad has been such an impact on my life.
My world was completely torn apart when I heard the terrible news that I would no longer get to see or talk to him.
My dad and I were best friends, I was daddy’s little girl!
We had movie nights where we would build forts in the living room with all mattresses, cushions, and blankets possible, Every Friday we would go to dairy queen and get banana splits, and my most favorite thing… We would drive around town with the windows down while blasting whatever CD I had just burned.
He sure was a trooper!
When I was a little girl I found I clicked with my dad more than I did my mom, my mom was scary and mean and made rules ! my dad, however, was not the serious type so needless to say I got away with A LOT more with my dad than I did with my mom, She did not take my Shite, and i suuuuuuure tested those ropes.
I loved to go out with my dad anywhere he went, and when a boat was purchased we LOVED to just go out and cruise the waves of the ferries. On the days the weather didn’t pan out for outdoor adventures I would force him to play barbies with me by cutting off the hair of one of my barbies and turning her head around to create a boy Barbie, as my dad had said Boys don’t play with barbies.
With that being said, it kind of says who my dad was.
SO why did I exactly look up to him?
He was racist, sexist and just an all-around ass.
But he was a loveable ass, and I thought his jokes were pretty funny and being so young honestly knew no harm in any of it as we do today.
I Spent a lot of my time with my dad, my grandparents or my uncle. I honestly don’t remember much of my childhood with my mom around, but then again I spent many years blocking my childhood out and I have had to think deep to dig some of this out.
My mom worked alllllll sorts of hours working at the local liquor store and bar at times having to pull double shifts to help the company and most importantly her family at home but sadly as a child , you don’t see that, or the things she’s doing for you behind closed doors, and it puts “daddy” in the spotlight, and for any little girl, there’s just that attachment with your dad .
I remember my mom and dad fighting most of the time, drinking always seemed to be a factor.
I remember having to call the police a few times to the point I would just say it was me and they would send the police over right away to make sure everything was okay.
If I really think about it like I am now, I can still hear the screams, the slaps, and the cries…
I can still see the shattered glass, and debris left over…
As the drinking on both ends increased, this would go on to happen on a much more regular basis, and before things could get any worse they decided it was time to part their ways and my mom and I would move elsewhere.
This is when my life would change forever without knowing.
I was standing outside watching a local baseball tournament with a friend of my uncles while my uncle and mom went into the beer gardens quickly.
We were watching the baseball game peacefully when a man approached me saying, “Hi, I won this for you” and in his hand was a stuffed dog being handed my way, as I realized he was talking to me I replied back with I’m sorry but I don’t take things from strangers, his reply was I am not a stranger, I am your dad.
My uncle’s friend went running in to get my uncle and my mom, leaving me with another close friend.
I was fairly confused and wondering what that was about!
My mom came running out with my uncle, his friend, and a few others, She asked me to point to the person who gave me this animal and I pointed towards to the man and at that moment …the look on my moms face, and the curse words coming out of her mouth said it all.
The words he had said where in fact true, he was …. My dad?!
But then, who was my da.. dad?
I was so lost …. And so confused, I started to rebel against anything and everything.
I began to give such attitude towards my mom, more than normal for something she was just trying to protect me from, but at the time, we don’t see it that way and that everyone is just out to get you.
Sometimes my .. ( what was he ?) had to pick me up from school or watch me while my mom was at work or simply just request to see me.
I remember being the biggest little bitch to him, telling him I didn’t have to listen to him because well he wasn’t my dad .. I could literally see the life leaving his soul right before my eyes.
As the anger faded away, I had some sort of clear vision, all the memories of us together .. he was, as a matter of fact, my dad …
For what is the definition of dad?
“ The True man in your life that is there for you. Your Dad may also be your father but your father may not be your dad.Your dad loves you, comforts you, supports you and helps you.”
I felt like I could not trust this other man, it was very hard to open up and accept that he was my father.
I was hesitant on the trust for my mom, and I felt like my dad was again the only person I could trust.
My dad may have had a cruel sense of humor but he honestly had the softest heart.
I remember him telling me one day that I should give this man a chance, I am lucky to have two dads who care and love me so much, he said to me that he was so lucky to have the privilege to know what it’s like to have me as daughter .he would hate and DID hate when I wanted nothing to do with him, give him a chance, just get to know him .
But this is not what the story is about today…
When I was about 13 or 14 I moved in with my dad full time for a little while.
When I was about 16 my dad made a sudden decision to move to Nelson BC.
I thought this was something planned and that I was going too, but as time was getting closer I was starting to wonder why my stuff was starting to go to storage.
I asked my mom something about the move, and she had no idea, so I obviously wasn’t going…
So dad, whats up? Why are you leaving me?
I had just lost my grandma, who was a very strong figure in my life…
You can’t just up and leave me right now.
But he left, I was feeling so dazed , I had to move back in with my mom who I did not get along with at the time , and I was angry, miserable , lost and addicted to cocaine and ecstasy which I had taken up a few years prior to numb some of the clusterfucks that were life.
After attempting to end my life a few times, I was put into anger management and counseling.
During this time we would be told to create a “happy place “ in our minds.
mine was on the beach with my dad in Nelson from a memory I had one time prior to a visit we had to see family.
I started to go up during the winter and summer seasons, I remember the last time I left we were so sad on the drive to the bus depot.
We hugged each other so hard and for so long until the tears came rolling down our faces.
Why do I have to go back, why! I’m so happy here, please don’t make me get on that bus!
I belong here. I want to live HERE!
My dad felt terrible but really had no choice, obviously, he had to send me home and I had to face my demons.
I will never forget that day … or that bus ride home.
It was the complete opposite of how my dad greeted me upon arrival, wearing his bright Miami dolphins jacket jumping up and down waving like a maniac.
But when it was time to leave there was no joy.
he would just stand there and wave goodbye slowly.
the tears where so overpowering it was hard not to see a complete pain and shatter between the separation of father and daughter.
So on that ride back into Vancouver, I cried, I cried the whole way, tears just falling from my eyes, even when I was just peacefully trying to enjoy the view… I cried.. the entire 13 hours.
I was so unhappy back at home.
Drinking, smoking and doing heavy amounts drugs and each time that I would disrespect myself like that…
I would ache more inside feeling as if I was disappointing my dad as he would say to me, whatever you do, keep that white shit out of your nose.
sadly it was my biggest demon that he was miles and miles away to prevent me from.
Back in Nelson my dad had met a lady and started to form a happiness I have not seen in so long.
I started to see a void filled in his life and I was so happy for him.
overtime I would come to learn that he was drinking again, and she would tell me he was fine and was controlling it but he wasn’t.
there was no controlling for my dad, it was an addiction that once he started he needed more and more.
I asked and begged my dad to please cut down or stop, he tried and to what I remember he did fairly well, but it can only last so long when your partner is not supporting you.
She really couldn’t stand the bond me and my dad had and always had to prove she was number 1, this would start to eat away at me and my sanity.
As time went on, she wanted to move closer to her daughter who lived in Calgary, my dad had agreed to go with her but the timing
was a little off and had to move after her.
she started to pack up and make the move, waiting for my dad to come within the following month, I wished for my dad to just come back home if you’re going to be moving, move home!
My dad had told me he could only come for visits and would not be able to live here again, it wasn’t where he belonged.
What I don’t remember, is where my dad was going, but one day he was going out for a drive, it was the middle of March and being up in the Kootenays, snow and ice can linger until late May.
Sadly my dad had a few to drink and his reflexes were not the best they could be.
He drove over black ice and swerved over the road, he tried to gain control back but it was too late, the truck was starting to tumble down the cliff, glass shattering, hitting him in the face along with smashing his face into the steering wheel and losing all of his teeth.
this was one of the most heartbreaking things I could hear.
he had cheated death that night but I would blame myself for not being there for him to stop this from happening.
I was so upset and torn apart cried for days.
I started to think of how lonely he was and I started to think back to the time when he first moved up there, he was alone living in a trailer.
He told me many times he would grab his rifle and think about pulling the trigger because he was alone and depressed and felt he had lost me..but he thought to himself… that’s the time being, if I pull this trigger I will never have her in my life again and she will never be in mine.
I Knew most of my dad’s will to live was because of me. However, a child should never know that.
Those words would end up haunting me for most of my life, always worrying about his well being.
So when this accident happened I was so hurt.
“you promised me you were going to be okay, you promised me you wouldn’t let your drinking get out of control, you promise me you wouldn’t put her first, and because you broke that promise you broke your face and my heart.
I don’t know who you are right now, you are being the so stupid and I can’t stand the way your living your life, you’re hurting me, get your shit together .”
A few weeks went by and April 5th had approached I did not call my dad that day to wish him a happy birthday, I was still so angry and felt I was punishing him by not calling him.
He did try to call me a few times and would speak to my mom and the closest he would get to me would be hearing me scream in the background I don’t wanna talk to him.
He did have plans to come see us before moving to Calgary but I said don’t bother I don’t want to see you like this …
On April 21st …2007 .. my Grandpa came into the living room of where my mom and I were living at the time.
It was Approximately 9 in the morning, and I remember the day like it was yesterday.
He had asked my mom and me to have a seat, we both looked at each other and knew something was terribly wrong.
We had a seat and my grandpa just stared at me with complete distraught and pain, my mom said, “dad, what’s going on?”
He was struggling with his words on how to tell us the news, but he took a deep breath looked at both of us and looked at the ground and started saying, the other day… they found …and looked back up at my mom and I with tears forming in his eyes and said the words “ they found Donnie’s body hung up in the marina “
I remember staring at my grandpa, not fully understanding what was said, he said it again, Donnie’s body was found the other morning caught up in the marina of Kootenay Lake.
everything around me went completely dark , my heart shattered into a gazillion pieces , my brain went completely numb and all I could do was get up and run into my mother’s bedroom screaming at the top of my lungs, I was flailing around the bed throwing the sheets and pillows everywhere along with throwing myself all over the bed and floor as well.
My mom tried to hold me and calm me down but it was impossible, I was out of control and my grandpa told my mom just let me be.
I will never forget that morning or the few people who were there for me right away.
I Had a friend speed over from a half hour drive and made it within 10 15 minutes with a trunk full of booze she had laying around the house, we drank and cried, and laughed until another friend came over with a bottle and a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my mom and me.
the 4 of us got completely day drunk, well me the most…
You Two, if you’re reading this, you know who you are … I don’t want to embarrass you and call you out .. but
I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET THE LOVE YOU GAVE FOR ME THAT DAY .. EVER!
My dad and I had a song that he would always sing to me by the rolling stones called “Wild Horses” which had so many different meanings over the transitions in our lives.
We also had a special song that was going to be our father and daughter dance at my wedding someday, which was Butterfly Kisses, My dad would go on to listen to that song DAILY and cry almost anytime that I wasn’t around.
The butterfly became the symbol of my dad after his passing.
Before his accident and passing, I did get an opportunity to spend time with him, laugh, reminisce and listen to our favorite songs, he was so excited because Tim McGraw had come out with his greatest hits album
with the song live like you were dying.
That song felt as if it was made for him, after alternating a few lyrics my dad lived by that song and played it over..and over .. and over and over again.
The whole album touched my dad, it felt like it was the story of his life.
He was a hunter and due to it, he always missed my birthday in November , But the day he caught his 10 point elk , it made it okay, because that was my dad’s greatest accomplishment , he got the tattoo on his arm and wore it proud and by moving to Nelson, he did learn how to be a better friend, a better person, a better son, a better father, a better man, unfortunately the booze was his biggest battle.
One of the last songs on this album was called my little girl, my dad was so excited to play it for me, and he made me sit there and really listen to the words and then had to replay it and ask me for a dance, he cried the whole time , and I look back at that moment and cherish it as at the end he looked at me and said, you will always be my little girl .
I drank and did drugs every day to numb the pain to eventually start growing up and realize I was only hurting myself I would eventually come to quit the drinking and the drugs and proceed to live a more balanced healthy lifestyle.
Over time I have been able to accept that what had happened.. Happened, all the tears, prayers, begging, yelling, was not going to bring him back, he was gone, and I needed to learn how to accept that and live my life.
11 years , and it still feels like yesterday, i can feel those words stabbing me in the heart and bleed from my ears I can feel the screaming at the back of my throat i can feel my body slamming down on the bed to the floor, I can feel the arms wrapping around me so tightly, I can still feel that day as if it was yesterday.
I Will always wake up on April 5th and wish you a happy birthday and sit by the water on April 18th to feel close to you, I will smile when a butterfly flutters by, when our songs play, and when you come to visit me in my dreams.
To anyone who has lost someone, I can’t tell you when the hard part is over, I can’t promise when things will start to get easier.
Everyone processes things differently, there will be times where life feels unbearable, no way you could possibly live another day, to another feeling determined and passionate to live life for that person.
The start of your favorite song can stab you in the heart and bring you to complete tears, to other days bringing a complete smile to your face.
All you can do is Cherish every memory, dream, sign, whatever it is, completely cherish it and hold it to your heart and know, that’s their way of checking in.
And it’s completely okay not to feel okay, let it out, express yourself, get back up and continue on with pride.
Thank You Maya Hunter McMartin For Capturing My Challenge Of A Vision !
Check Out More Of Her Work Here !
2 thoughts on “April Eighteenth Two Thousand Seven”
My mom died 92 days ago, thanks for sharing this ❤️
a truly , well written story. Thank you for sharing your deepest emotions with us.
as someone having lost a daughter, I was touched.