Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hello everyone.  It was 3 years ago that my father died in his sleep.  I made the following graphic in his memory.

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My father and I had a difficult relationship.  Yet he was my father, the man who raised my brothers and I.  With the help of my mother he provided us a comfortable home to live in and food to eat.  If any of us had a problem he did what he was able to to help us out.

When he found out I was going to have another baby, he and my mom were so excited.  Especially when they discovered that I was going to have another daughter.  Out of their 9 grandchildren, Samantha and Rylie are the only 2 girls.  They brought me a beautiful antique rocking chair.  Then they found out we didn't have any carpeting in the bedroom that I was a preparing the baby's room.  So my dad went and bought some padding and a piece of carpeting.

It seems so unfair that he and my mom had such a difficult year in 2003.  He was diagnosed with sclirosis of the liver in the summer, then shortly thereafter they discovered my mom had cancer.  What an awful year for my parents.  It seemed that the one glimmer of life and joy he had that year was the upcoming birth of his 9th grandchild, and he didn't even get to live to see her.  Or to learn that my mother would survive her battle with cancer.

My parents were so stressed out that last year, yet they made an real effort to stay informed and involved with my pregnancy.  My father even took me to the hospital for an ultra-sound after I had been told to stay in bed for the remaining 3 1/2 months of my pregnancy.

So he was there with me when they discovered, before 28 weeks, that I was beginning to dialate and would need surgery to save the baby.  I was terribly scared and so thankful that he was there with me.  He tried so hard to keep me calm, even though I'm sure that he was as scared as I was that I would lose my baby.

Yes, he did things to disappoint the family.  Yes, he was often self-centered and controlling.  But he was my father and I am sure that he did the best he could with what he knew.  I'm sure that he had regrets.  Just as I'm sure we all do or will.  At least, I know that I have many regrets of things I have done.  He was human, he was my father and I wish he was here.  At the very least, I wish he had lived to see Rylie Jo born.

Things were so crazy the month of February 2004.  Mom had done so well throughout her battle, but towards the end the chemo did a real number on her body.  I know that I was afraid we were going to lose her and I'm sure my dad was afaid of the same thing.  Then dad was put into the hospital, and on the 25th of the month I was admitted to the hospital so they could deal with my uncontrollable blood pressure and bi-lateral kidney stones.  I'm sure that mom's poor health and my hospital stay had a little something to do with dad leaving the hospital against the doctors advice the week before he died.  Even in the end, he had to be the one in control.

My father wasn't perfect.  But then, who of us is?  He was human.  I'm sure he did the best he could with what he knew.  He loved us to the best of his ability.  I'm trying so hard not to judge him too harshly.  First, because it really isn't my place to judge him, that is in God's hands. 

Secondly, because I don't want my own children looking over every single thing I did in my life and judging me for every decision I made.  I want them to know that through everything, I loved them and always tried to do what was best, given the situation.  But that in the end, I am just a human and made mistakes along the way. 

He was my father and sometimes I get so angry at him.  Other days, I see someone who resembles him and I find myself crying.  Even in his death our relationship remains much the same.  There are days that I love and miss him, and then there are the days that I'm angry with the things he did and wish he was here so I could give him a piece of my mind.

Yes, he had his flaws, but for a moment I want to remember and share the good things he did.  He served his country as a paratrooper in Korea.  He helped establish The Link (a place where people dealing with substance abuse or suicidal thoughts can call in for help anonymously) in Bowling Green back in the 70's.   He served his community by being a city councilman. 

He and my mother took in a foster child, a teen girl thrown out by her father, when I was in the third grade.  I remember him sitting there and helping her with her homework.  He was honestly concerned about her and tried to help her.

He and my mother bought a place by Lake Gage, in Indiana.  They went almost every weekend from the time I was about 10 or 11 and they continued going until after I was married.  He bought an old pontoon boat, a real piece of poop, and re-did it.  He put a new motor on it, and covered it with outdoor carpet that was red, white and blue.  He taught us kids how to water ski behind that old boat.  Later, as we got older, he sold it and bought a motor boat for us to ski behind.

He used to stop at garage sales and buy me porceline figures.  Fancy ladies and angels.  Every year on my birthday, he would get me a birthday angel.  I wonder where those are now? 

He once wrote this really beautiful poem about our family.  He had it typed up and mounted on burgundy velvet in a really pretty frame.  I think he gave it to my mom on their anniversary or for valentines day one year.

When my ex-husband and I seperated, he was there for me.  Even though our relationship up to that point had been very strained and we hadn't talked much the previous couple of years.  He was really concerned about me and was there if I needed help along the way.

Yes, Joe Corral had his flaws, he was human and he was my father. Today I remember his life, the good and the bad.  I remember that he was merely a human being, not the bigger than life hero and perfect daddy that a little girl dreams of.  I hope that I've honored his memory.  I send a prayer to heaven that his soul found a peaceful place to rest.  I pray that he was welcomed home by his parents and siblings and found comfort in the forgiving and loving arms of God. 

God bless you dad.


tpiez4me said...

What a beautiful memorial to your father!  Thank you for sharing this.

radar446 said...

That was very touching, and obviously heartfelt.  I can kind of relate you your relationship with your father, as mine has some similar qualities.  I think that you have allowed love to surpass all the flaws and faults, so that is good, and will give you peace.


mikev009 said...

It's beautiful. ~ Mike