3 days later, on cold January 3rd, we buried my mother next to her parents in a funeral that I only remember some of as I was still in shock.
The last time I spoke with my father was 11 months later. One night in November 2005, I was downstairs playing video games with my cousin Mary. Uncle Dave yelled down the stairs that my father was on the phone and to grab the cordless down there.
A lot of emotion came up. Why hadn't he called before? Why didn't he contact us when our mother had died? Was he even aware before today that mom had died? I felt angry and disappointed in the person that I called my father.
And the conversation was just as awkward.
"Hey Amelia..." He said. "How are you?"
"How have things been?"
"They've been good, just going to school. I'm in the band at school and I love it."
"How have you been?"
"Oh, I'm good. How's the weather up there?"
"Cold and snowy just like a normal Michigan winter."
"Ah, I miss it up there sometimes."
"Well I'm gonna let you go. I just wanted to check in on you."
"Thanks for calling."
"Love you, bye."
Little did I know that that 10 minute conversation would be the last time I would hear his voice other than in my head when I thought about him. Four years later, in March is 2009, he would pass away from a mixture of diseases that included cancer and organ failure. I would later learn of his passing in March of 2011 and realize that both my parents were gone.
Though my father never was around much, I still mourn the losses of what could have been. My father was a smart man and I'm sure he would have been proud, as my mother would have been, to see me graduate with a college degree in my hands. I'll never have a father walk me down the aisle and I'll never have a father/daughter dance at my wedding.
Sometimes we take for granted the things we have. Sometimes we don't realize the pain that our fellow man is going through. Sometimes we feel emotions towards another that we do not mean because we don't know the whole story at the time.
I thought of my father as a bad man for many years. I was angry and didn't understand what happened on the day in 1994 when he basically sent himself to prison for many years. I was 4 at the time and never really remembered who my father was before that happened. The times I saw him after were always so awkward, mostly because I didn't know how to act in the situation.
I have come to learn that my father was a lovely man. Smart, funny, a joy to be around. He was also a man who lost likely fell into a deep depression after losing his job and never got the help he needed.
But my father was my father. Without him I wouldn't be here. I'm just so sorry that I didn't get to know him better before his death.