Warm Cookies With A Whiskey Chaser

The Perfect Mix of Comfort and Shenanigans

Blogroll Me!
100 Things About Me
Tinmen Don't Dance
Humble Sandwich
A Son from Another Mother; Matt
Auburn Pisces
Splenda In The Grass
the bokey chronicles
Jeffrey Ricker
Rocket Man
The Beauty of All Things
No Milk Please
A Life In The Day
Shadow Footprints
Scott B Blog
Seth Hancock Photography
Famous Author Rob Byrnes
Watersea's Ocean Bloggie
Cheap Blue Guitar
Does This Mean I'm A Grownup?
Upside Down Hippo
Loose Ends

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I'm not going to live up to the title of my blog this time kids. I know it's been awhile. I just pretty much got nothin'. I'm numb.

Well okay, I'm on the other side of the anger, the pain. I'm heading into the really scary depression part and trying my best to hold on. But I've bitten off my nails, and the knot at the end of the rope came loose, and I'm feeling like I've got nothing left to hold on with.

I got back from Hawaii March 8th. Though I was in pretty good spirits and moving on, the other shoe dropped the week after I returned home; Charlie got laid off. Stunned as I was when he told me, I didn't take it nearly as hard as Averie did. She was scared and rightly so. After all, she knew how much of her Daddy's paycheck was going towards her tuition. Charlie, steadfast as ever, told us that he wasn't worried, so we shouldn't worry either. But you know how that goes.

Tuesday night, as I was closing the store where I work, my phone rang. It was my step-sister. I could hear my step-mother screaming and crying in the background. My heart sank. It was the call that I have dreaded for years. My father. My Daddy. The man who gave me his name. He was gone. A sad and lonely passing; he died alone in his apartment. My step-mother came home from work to find him on the kitchen floor. So different from my birth dad's death only two months earlier, surrounded by loved ones. I grieve. I hurt. I can't help but ask why.

Charlie and I packed quickly, made some calls, rented a car since neither of our cars is in any shape to drive across the desert, and headed out to Vegas. I cried the whole four hour drive. When we got there, my step-mother was nearly inconsolable, and despite my effort to try to listen with my heart to her pain, all I could think of was my own pain. Yet, I went about the business that they weren't able to do. Called the mortuary, the Veteran's Administration, the Department of the Navy. Arranged the funeral, wrote the check. They had no money. My father had $500 to his name. He never told me. I would ask when we talked on the phone if he needed anything. He always said he was fine. "I'm okay, Pua. Don't worry."

A memorial service. Even though my father had two living siblings, they were not a close family, so there would be none of them attending. All of his friends were also kidney dialysis patients like himself or caregivers for those patients, so they wouldn't be attending. It would be my step-mother, my step-sister, and their family. 13 people, all of whom my father helped bring over from the Philippines. What did they really know about my dad? They'd only known him for 10 years. They didn't really know half of what they needed to know about his life. I needed my family here. I needed my children. Charlie drove back to California to get the kids. He left Vegas at 6:00 am on Thursday and returned with Ave, Caris, and Bry at 5:00 pm. By the time he returned, I had arranged the entire service, written the eulogy, talked to the Naval Chaplain, and made damn sure my father would have an honor guard.

I went through his closet and found his Naval cruise books, his ribbons, medals, and citations from his 20 year military career. I wasn't going to send him off without people knowing what he'd done for this country. What he'd meant to me. What kind of a man he really was before his illness robbed him of his zeal for life.

I made a shadow box and mounted his medals. I went through his albums and created photo collages. I tried to honor both of his families; the one he had with my mom and me, and the one he had with my step-mother after my mom passed away. I turned our hotel room into a pressroom, there were pictures everywhere. I needed to celebrate him. I needed to honor him the best way I knew how. I needed to say the things that no one else could say and share the stories no one else knew but me.

After the service yesterday, back at our hotel room, we reflected. The kids and Charlie both told me how beautiful the service was. I tried so hard to celebrate who he was and the life I had lived with him growing up. I tried so hard to honor him and give him the farewell that he deserved. The Navy sent the honor guard I worked so hard to arrange. I had Charlie collect the shells from the 21-gun salute since they'd presented the flag draped over his casket to my step-mom. I wanted to have something from that. This was as much about me as it was about him. I felt I had a right to be selfish. It was my mom and I that had put in those Navy years with him. My dad always said that being the wife of a serviceman was the hardest job in the military. I remember thinking as a kid that being a Navy brat wasn't such a piece of cake either. But, honestly, it wasn't half bad. He gave me the world from the deck of a ship.

I told Charlie that my vision of my dad was always so romanticized. I had the little girl thoughts of a Knight in Shining Armour; strong, powerful, immortal. After all, he came back from war three times. He'd live forever, right? I still can't believe he's gone. I'm devastated that he died alone. No one should die alone. I'm devastated that he never told me just how bad things were. I'm so unbelieveably sad and honestly, I feel really fragile. I might just break.