When I was 2 years old, my mom remarried a man she had gone to school with. He was head-over-heels for her, and was a wonderful daddy to me. My first memories are of he and I playing together, riding a tricycle in the kitchen of our home in 1970, I was 2 1/2 years old.
Don't we look so happy? He was the man I called my daddy, my biological was distant from me, although I did see him on weekends. Mom and Dad had 3 more children together, and I was just enough older than them to play "little mommy". We moved to the Tri-Cities, Washington, area, to his dad's fruit orchard, where us children had the time of our lives. I still consider it home.
Then when I was 10, they divorced. Daddy had Vietnam nightmares every night, and smoked and drank heavily. But he was still my Daddy. When I was 13, he remarried - to a woman who hates me and my mother to this day. But he was still my Daddy. Years went by, and I grew up, got married, moved away, moved back. I discovered as an adult that he ignored my youger sister (his biological), but still kept in contact with me. He came to my wedding, but not hers. This drove a wedge between us, because I love my little sister desperately. But still he was my Daddy.
June 20, 2009, Spokane, Washington. My boyfriend Jim and I were at his mother's house for dinner, and were just sitting down to eat, when my cell rang, around 7pm. It was my mom, so of course I answered it. She said that my dad "just shot himself in the head, they don't think he's going to make it". I don't remember, but my mom and Jim said I started screaming and I remember collapsing to my knees. After awhile I calmed down and stopped crying. I managed to sit at the table and eat a few bites, make small-talk with his mother for a while. 7:47pm my sister called, and I couldn't answer it. I handed the phone to Jim and had him talk to her, because I knew that I would get hysterical again. They talked for a few minutes, and she said that she was glad it was him and not me on the phone, for the same reason. We texted back and forth instead, knowing that hearing each other's voice would push us over the edge. The oldest of our two brothers also texted us and told us not to come, that he wasn't going to make it. We decided to go anyway, and called him to tell him at 10:20pm. Daddy had just died. My sister and I drove the 2 1/2 hours to our brother's home in Pasco and spent 2 days with him. We took a trip to the orchard to see Grandma. We cried with lots of family (even though I was not related by blood, they all still consider me family). We made the funeral arrangements with the wife, who made everything into drama as much as she possibly could. And we all put up with it, because he was our Daddy.
June 29, 2009. We held the funeral service and buried him near Grandpa and near his younger brother who was killed in Vietnam. His wife instigated a lot of drama, like she always does. They fought daily throughout their marriage of 30 years, and she did not honor his wishes to be cremated.
July 16, 2009. Today is my Daddy's birthday, and I am sad. When he shot himself, he tossed a note at his wife, went out the door and pulled the trigger. She is the only one besides the police who have seen the note, and none of us will ask her what it said, because no matter what she says, we won't believe her anyway. The officers who responded are distant family, and said they would try to get us a copy of the note, but now it won't happen until after the investigation is complete. So we still don't know WHY he killed himself. But he is still my Daddy, no matter what.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. I hope you are at peace now. I love you.
My mom remarried in 1987 to a wonderful man. He passed away on July 13, 2007, so I am also sad about the anniversary of his death. He was never "Daddy", but he was a good friend. I love and miss you too, Bill!