There are no words

my dad is dead.

i haven't posted much the last while. i think i just don't have the kind of time to spare that i used to, when i blogged here daily. sometimes multiple times a day. not that i don't love it, and not that i don't think about blogging all the time. i still compose entries in my head. i just don't have the time.

but this might be a little different. everyone keeps telling me that writing it all out might help me. i've avoided it because i didn't want to make it real. i really have no words for just what i'm feeling, because it's more than pain. "devastated" sounds too dramatic and too loud and too shallow for what i'm feeling.

i swear, it was just like in the movies, when the main characters are having a Moment of Perfection, and they look at each other and smile, and suddenly everything's in slow motion: their joy, wind blowing through their hair, love and happiness and contentment in their eyes, smiling at each other, music so perfect...


we did. we smiled at each other. we had hugged each other upstairs. i was cleaning my bathroom and Little Owl was jumping on the bed. my dad came home, said hi, looked great in jeans and one of his cream-colored mexican button-downs, the kind with woven/embroidered designs in two stripes down the chest on either side of the buttons. i forget what the design is called, but i can see it in my head.

we hugged. he'd had a great day. it was friday, and he was planning on going salsa dancing with one of his friends. he was going to take the motorcycle to get a tune-up so it would be ready when my brother flew in from moscow the next day. i'd follow in my car so i could drive him home, and was planning on suggesting on El Pollo Loco for dinner. the weather had been perfect for SoCal: sunny and flawless blue, warm for june but not uncomfortably hot. even the humidity was down enough that i didn't feel the pressing need for the air conditioner. just the open windows and breeze, with the ceiling fan, was perfect.

it was perfect.

fucking perfect, godfuckingdammit.

it was a perfect day. we smiled at each other. we hugged. i told him, "happy friday." he'd had a good day at work. i'd had a good day with Little Owl.

it was a fucking perfect day.

dad put on his helmet and was backing the motorcycle out of the garage. we smiled at each other. then i bent to buckle Little Owl into the carseat. i was kissing her --as she always wants after i finish buckling her in-- and heard the motorcycle zoom at top acceleration. i saw him zoom in my peripheral vision, through the rear car window.

i heard a crunch behind me. a loud crunch.

somehow, i have no idea how, i went from crouching in the car to standing outside it. i saw the motorcycle on its side,  a huge dent in the neighbor's garage wall, my dad on his back in front of it. seeing my dad's feet, him on the ground  not moving...but it was his feet for some reason that punched me in the face.

at first it didn't even register what i was looking at. i blinked twice before i realized this was really happening. but somehow all of that happened in the fraction of a second. my phone magically materialized in my hand as i ran, calling for my dad, dialing 911 with fucking shaking fingers. my hand was fairly vibrating, i was shaking so bad.

even as i did, i kept expecting my dad to blink a few times, and then sit up and shake his head like, "whoa." i swear i kept waiting. but even as i was waiting, i was thinking, "what do they do in those medical shows in situations like this? oh yeah, they use the person's name."

so i started calling to him, asking if he could hear me. one of my dad's neighbors showed up about then, and i asked if he had a pocket knife to cut the strap of my dad's helmet. it seemed to be cutting up under his chin right where the jugular sits, and i figured that would help.

when i saw only one eye creep open, and both his eyes start swelling --not eyelids, but his eyes-- i knew it was bad. his tongue stuck out a little, and stuck out a little more. it was an "oh shit" moment. lying there, head lolling to the side, one eye closed one eye partly open, eyes swelling, tongue sticking out of his mouth...

even as i waited for the ambulance i knew my life would never be the same. i was so terrified in that moment, and i also felt like an utter piece of shit for being so selfish to even think that and i knew i was shit for thinking it, but i was also just so fucking terrified, because life would never be the same. if my dad recovered, he would never be the same person he was only two minutes ago. just google "TBI" one of these days: Traumatic Brain Injury. my dad was already gone.

and if he died?

...oh god.

less than two minutes later, the cops and ambulance showed up. i swear, it was less than two minutes. dad's house was about a mile from the police station, and maybe half that for the ambulance. my dad's heart was thready and weak when i checked it, but by the time the police checked him, his heart had stopped.

i remember spinning around, shouting "FUCK" as loudly as i could, and by the time i finished my spin, i was focused and had my game face back on.

too many years of practicing my poker face so i wouldn't get abused any further. comes in handy.

my dad's neighbor was trying to get me to go inside, to focus on Little Owl, and to otherwise keep me away from the scene. i called him on it. it was seriously pissing me off.

my sister --my best friend-- wouldn't answer her phone. i called my cousin to see if she could watch Little Owl. couldn't get a hold of her either.

the neighbor pissing me off actually offered. his wife and daughter, a bit younger than Little Owl, came over to help.

by then there was a crowd of neighbors.

i followed a couple minutes behind the ambulance.

i couldn't get a hold of anyone for hours, waiting there in the emergency room waiting room. when one of the nurses took me aside to a private room adjacent to the ER, i wanted to throw up. i knew it was bad.

either that or my constant pacing was bothering people. not that i cared.

a doctor came in, red-orange curly hair, gentle tones. she offered to sit with me.

i knew it was bad.

when the other doctor, the head of Trauma and the one who oversaw my dad's entire case, invited me to sit down, i told him, "only if everyone else sits down. otherwise i'll stand." when he just stood there, eyes wide, hands at his waist and still but poised as if he wanted to fiddle them. just looking at him, i could tell it was Really Bad. i was braced for him to tell me my dad had died or that there was nothing they could do.

it was the "we'll do everything we can, but it won't be enough" look. i knew it.

and as the day progressed into the following morning, just like when i was kneeling at his feet by the bike, waiting for him to open his eyes, i was waiting for him to wake up so they could move him out of the ICU.

one day turned into three --and i hadn't slept, eaten, or sat down at all-- and three days turned into a week, and i got the very squirming, very sure feeling that this wasn't going to resolve itself.

not after the way that Trauma doctor had looked at me.

surprisingly, my siblings were all being mature and cooperative. we had established a schedule that i believed was working: we all took turns watching Little Owl --since i was the only one who had children that needed to be taken care of. my other siblings either had the luxury of being without children, or had their spouse at home watching children. every third night, i came home to take my turn being with Little Owl. it was working.

nobody told me otherwise. and every time i asked, everything was just peachy.

so when i announced i would be spending the night at the hospital again, with  my younger sister, my older sister telling me, "so Little Owl will be alone," was just flabbergasting.

who the fuck says that? for fuck's sake, she's three years old.

so i went home, completely angry that no one was communicating. if there was a problem, i had made it more than clear they could just tell me. in fact, i even said, very plainly, that i work better with and respect when you can tell me something, no fluff or beating around the bush, to my face. i'm a big girl. i can take it.

apparently they couldn't. not only did no one tell me they didn't want to watch Little Owl anymore, but no one called, texted, or came by for four days. i was left alone --without even a goddamn update about my dad's health-- for four. goddamn. days.

i had to get a friend from church to watch Little Owl so i could go to the hospital.

and when i got there, someone had erased my name from the white board. you know, where it said SPOKESPERSON: DELENA now said SPOKESPERSON: DOUCHEBAG BROTHER.

so they were muscling me out completely.

i erased it and replaced my name. after all, it was my motherfucking signature on all of my dad's paperwork. all of the financial responsibility, the legal responsibility, the everything. it was my motherfucking name on all of it, so it goddamn well would be my name on the white board.

the next time i was able to get to the hospital, four days later --after a friend drove all the way from Portland to watch Little Owl-- my name was deliberately left off altogether. the board read: "okay to give information to these people:" and everyone was listed --even my bipolar, fucking-crazy sister-in-law...but not me.


that night when i came to spend the night with my dad, my younger sister --my best friend-- was there.

her: "what are you doing here?"
me: "being with my dad."
her: "are you staying all night?" *very hostile inflection*
me: "yup! have fun!" *smile*
her: "well, i'm leaving." *again, hostile and disgusted tone*
me: "good!" *smile*

she followed me into my dad's room, blocked my path as i tried to walk around the foot of my dad's bed. it's really narrow between the hospital bed and a set of drawers for equipment and supplies. it was literally just wide enough for my hips. she blocked my path.

when i tried to walk past her anyway, she grabbed my head and shoved it. teeth bared, lip curled, putting all of her strength and weight behind it.

that's when i shut down. hearing things like, "we don't want you," and "you're a stupid fucking cunt," and "you're fucking insane and need to be on medication" from my best friend, the one person i would have trusted at my back, trusted with my life, trusted enough to gamble everything --even Little Owl's life-- that she would be the one person in the world who would never betray me as long as i lived...

the accident happened on june 27th. two weeks from june 28th, my father died. my siblings finally admitted what i had been trying to advocate the entire time: my dad's wishes were to never be on machines.

the entire time i was there, it was so easy to push any of my own thoughts and desires out of existence. what my dad wanted was all that mattered, and what he wanted was not to depend on machines. the prognosis was, "in six months to a year on the respirator, we'll know more about what his recovery will look like." this was mainly because my dad's brain injuries were so incredibly severe. it's called "shear injury." look it up. it's fucking scary.

overwhelmingly fucking scary.

my brother and sisters wanted to wait. to my older sister, a year didn't sound long to her. to her. not to my dad, but to her. and oh, she couldn't live with the guilt thinking that she killed him. my brother wanted to wait and see, and didn't have any problem ignoring that dad didn't want this, and only consider dad's wishes after exhausting every other option. my younger sister, formerly my best friend, admitted she didn't have the life experience and was going along with everyone else.

"everyone else" apparently meaning anyone not me, because i'm a fucking insane piece-of-shit cunt who needs to be on medication, and that my entire family thinks is a useless idiot.

because even my aunt --my dad's younger sister-- questioned my "mental competence" when i stopped to consider the weight and dangers of one procedure over another for my dad, because apparently "stopping to weigh the pros and cons of the dangers of these procedures" looked unmistakably like "hesitation."

but she pointed right at me when one of the doctors walked in and asked who was in charge.

two-faced bitch. i'm too much of an idiot to handle things, so you'll question me but refuse to step up and take any of the responsibility? fucking really?

fuck her.

fuck all of them. especially the ones who wanted me to just shut up and "understand" them, to keep the peace, but were quick to accuse me of making waves. no, i just made it inconvenient for them to treat me like the fucking idiot doormat they wanted me to be.

or the cousin that spread lies about me, and actually emailed my publisher on facebook to tell her my birth name, and to tell her that i "burned myself all over my body and bragged about it, and is that normal?" of course, given my policy of airing all of my dirty laundry, sins, and faults, so that they can never be used against me. and given that i'm actually really close friends with my publisher --and that she visited me in the spring of last year and stayed a week-- she already knew the real story behind everything, unlike my douchebag cousin.

so she told my cousin where to go, and that if "blood is thicker than water," then maybe my cousin should shut her damn mouth and actually listen to what i had to say. did my cousin listen? no. she just kept right on trying to smear me, make me sound crazy, and try to sound all fucking saintlike, telling my publisher that, "we're here for her [meaning me] when she wants the correct help."

got that? the correct help.

fuck her. fuck her face, fuck the ground she walks on, fuck her children, fuck every stupid goddamn self-righteous breath she takes.

crazy idiot piece-of-shit cunt who needs to be on medication. my best friend said that to my face, with a smooth-faced, superior expression. and it rolled off her tongue, as if she had already said it so many times it was habit. which sounds remarkably (read: exactly) like what she used to say about the crazy russkie of a sister in law. (who actually has borderline personality disorder, and probably bipolar and/or histrionic personality disorder, because goddamn she's sick, and my degree is in Psych, so i kind of know what i'm talking about)

i was still wondering why the hell nobody even told me they were tired of watching Little Owl and why they saw fit to stop talking to me instead of tell me, and apparently things had already escalated with them to the point where my little sister --my best friend-- saw fit to try to physically intimidate me, chase me into my dad's hospital room, and shove my head.

so the accident was june 27th. my dad died two weeks from june 28th. i hadn't heard from anyone in my family since four days before that. whatever day today is, however long that is, no one has spoken to me, texted me, called me, emailed me...nothing.

not even to tell me when or where my dad's service was being held.

i'm apparently not even worth that. i imagine they're glad they don't have to pretend i'm part of their family anymore.

i didn't just lose my dad. my dad was taken from me. i lost everyone i'm related to.

i just can't have a good life. i dared to take life by the balls, walk away from a bad situation, claim my self-respect and sovereignty. i was getting healthy, making plans, doing well. i owned it.

and then fate threw my dad into a wall and killed him.

threw my life on the shitpile.

everyone keeps pouring this bs on me about how "family is more than blood," and "given them time, they'll realize that crisis made them crazy," but A.) easy for you to say family is more than blood. you're not the one who was just shown how not-valued i've been, how much of a non-entity i've been to these people i thought loved me (extended family included, not just my fucked up immediate family). and B.) you don't know my family. what's that saying? fifty-thousand germans can't be wrong? yeah. it doesn't matter when it happened. they're going to be convinced they are right, and since all of them outnumber me, i'm the one who will always be crazy, always be "the one who was crazy," (according to my mother), and they will never have anything to do with  me ever again.

well, not unless i come crawling back and admit that i wholeheartedly agree with everything, and spend the next decade proving that i'm not just saying that. and some of that proof will involve not only putting up with how much like shit they treat me, but not speaking up at all, and thanking them for treating me like a third-class citizen, and in general licking their ass and begging for more opportunities to do the same.

my dad died. i was the only witness, and i won't even go into the problems i have with PTSD, hearing the motorcycle zoom, the crunch as he was thrown into the wall behind me, the sight of him lying there with his eyes swelling and tongue sticking out...over and over and over, like a broken record that's been going for weeks nonstop...

no, i won't even get into that.

and i won't even mention going three days without food or sleep, rarely even sitting, to the point where my ankles were as thick as my calves because they were so swollen. i won't go into dealing with that crisis alone. pacing in the ER alone. sitting in that tiny adjacent room alone. staying home with Little Owl for four days alone, not knowing anything that was going on.

because apparently none of that was supposed to affect me, and i should have considered how hard my siblings had it. y'know, flying in after all the shit had already gone down and the scent of blood was cleaned off my dad. i should have considered how hard it was for them to see him lying in that hospital bed.

fuck delena. who gives a shit she saw the whole thing, made the 911 call, heard the police say his heart stopped, dealt with every tiny and major decision regarding my father's survival alone? apparently i was supposed to handle that flawlessly, and not say anything about it, because anything less is weakness and i'm just fucking crazy.

because everyone else had it harder than me, and how dare i make it about me?

i won't mention that i still have no appetite, that i've lost so much weight my clothes are all baggy. even my "skinny jeans" that i had bought back a year before i had even met Little Owl's sperm donor? yeah, those not only fit better than they did the day i tried them on, but they're getting loose.

i can't care about anything. i can't manage any real emotion beyond a vague frustration, or fleeting mirth as long as it's superficial. other than that, i really just don't care. i give no shits about anything.

i lost my dad, and i lost my entire family.

let that sink in a moment.

my. entire. family.

all of them.

cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, second cousins, grand-aunts and grand-uncles. everyone by marriage who was now a part of the family i loved as family. my family's so huge i can't even keep track of who's related to whom and how. they're all either uncles and aunts, or cousins. that's it. i'm mexican. we breed like rabbits.

i have a huge family.

wait. scratch that.

i had a huge family. i have no family now.

i meant nothing to them, ever, if crisis brings out the real person. i never meant anything. they muscled me out. i'm insane. i'm a piece of shit. i'm a cunt. i'm crazy and need to be on medication. just how worthless do i have to be that they discussed kicking me out of my dad's house among themselves?

kicking me and my three year-old daughter out of the house my dad wanted me to live in. that my dad had flown to Indiana where we were living and invited me to come back home and live with him, and rebuild bridges and heal everything that still needed healing between us?

was i the only one who gave any kind of crap about what my father wanted? surely i couldn't have been the only one who loved and respected him. he wanted me there. he wanted Little Owl there. that meant nothing to them.

i can't even feel like an orphan. my entire family is still out there. i'm just unwanted.

given everything, i can't even begin to describe the pain i feel. the depth of heartbreak.

i just...i can't. there are no words.

there just are no words.

i love you, dad. between us, we healed everything that needed healing between us. we were happy. we lived in peace. we achieved peace. how many people can ever say that? you were my friend. i miss you so much. i love you, dad.

beyond that? i'm just empty, and yet full to bursting with...something that hurts so much i'm still just numb.

Dad with Little Owl, on a gorgeous Sunday walk at the park

Dad singing "Ella" with the mariachis. I got my voice from him, and he had a wonderful voice.
Loved to sing, and the mariachis loved him. 


Mitchell Allen said...

Delena, there are no words, yet words are all we have. I simply wish to acknowledge the pain that you feel.

I will be thinking of you and caring.

Peace with your Dad and the perfect moment: hold on to that. Cherish that. And know that the spirit of the Universe does not reject your worth.


Angel The Alien said...

I just came across this blog. I don't know what to say... I am amazed that you are strong enough to write about all this, it sounds so traumatizing! I am glad you have your Little Owl as your family, and she is the one that matters, more than all of the ones who abandoned you.