I hate admitting this to anyone but mostly to myself. . . I stupidly thought that losing him wouldn't be as hard as it has been because we weren't that close. His drinking and depression came between us. I can tell you that this has been very tough both as a daughter and a cancer survivor. The survivor's guilt has always been with me even as I just celebrated my 9th year cancer free on 5/31 the same day as my 7th wedding anniversary to Lou. It is bittersweet to have just celebrated the other day and now feeling the pain of loss.
Here is an excerpt from my book Breastless in the City where I share our last conversation on his 60th birthday on 4/6/08 . . .
When he answered the door, I almost didn't recognize him. He had let his short crew cut grow almost as long as his beard. He had lost so much weight that his face was all sunken in. He was there alone. It was just the two of us. We sat and talked for awhile.
After some small talk, he said, "Next time around I will be a better dad."
I wasn't expecting that. I responded, "You did the best you could."
"No I didn't, I did what was best for me."
At that moment all the crap between us didn't matter. I don't remember who hugged whom first. I think it was me. As we embraced, it felt foreign and comforting at the same time. Then he said, "I love my little girl."
And I said, "I love you too."
Then the tears began and I was crying so hard I could barely stop. There were tears in his eyes too, which was a first. At that moment Dad and I had finally arrived at the place it had taken my whole life to get to and we were saying things to each other that we never had before. I don;t think either of us had planned on having that talk. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but I, for one, am glad it did . . .