Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No. 1 Daughter

I stopped worked early yesterday to vist my father at the hospice. Despite his frailty and pain – and a veil of Clonazepam to quell his anxiety – we had a wonderful few hours together. I fed him then stretched out alongside him on the bed. We chatted as I massaged his hands. His cancer-ridden body is deteriorating quickly and very visibly now but his spirit refuses to be constricted by it. He is alert and gripping onto the last, fraying strands of life.
Before I left, he gave me a small gift: a military-style dog-tag, engraved with the words No. 1 Daughter (an in-joke between us – I am his only daughter). I started to cry. He told me he was proud of me for living on my own terms, for not letting anyone fuck me over. As a young, tomboy-ish girl, raised by a hard-working but attentive single father, I learned to value my independence – and, later, my art – above all.
As an adult, I finally recognise that if I have become anything at all, it is my father's daughter.

14 comments:

karo akpokiere said...

This is the most emotive post I have read in a long time. Thank you for sharing.

Maureen said...

One of your most beautifully written posts.

Anonymous said...

Good on you, Hazel.

Holly Friesen said...

Honest, tender and clear words spoken from the heart.
A gift for both of you that you are able to spend these precious moments together.

Ben said...

Great Post. Your dad must be pretty proud.

Carol Lee Beckx said...

It's a special time to be able to be close to your father now.
A Father's love is unique.

I wish you well over the holidays and all good things for the coming year.

Success said...

Only 3 paragraphs, and I am already tearing up. All my best.

Karen Martin Sampson said...

Oh, how I relate...My Dad called me No. 1 Daughter sometimes too (and I am an only child). I was with him on the day he died. How wonderful that your Dad has given you this token to cherish forever. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

It must be heartbreaking for you Hazel. My sister died 2003 heroin o/d and it hurt indescribably. It is wonderful you have this opportunity to share love with your father.

As you know my other sister is struggling with advanced cancer, in remission now but the chemo is wrecking her. This is terrible but it has also has been amazing as we have spent more time together and given each other more love over the past few months than during her healthier years.

take care and enjoy life, it is so precious

vg

Indigo said...

we are reaching an age when our elders are passing on to the next.
my father, my mother, my grandmother...they are all unwell right now, my father most of all. we are just beginning what will likely be a long battle with MS. He may have a long road ahead, but the fact that his days are numbers is more immediate, more undeniable than ever.

http://indigosadventures.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/train-1979-for-my-father/

sending you strength across the miles. you are always an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

our thoughts and wishes are with you and tom!!
love sarah, mat and jimmy (our new little buddy) x x

Faranak said...

Very touching, thank you for sharing. you are No 1 in many ways.

Anonymous said...

your Dad is a wonderful person, as are you:)kellie

Anonymous said...

I fucking LOVE you. I wish I was a Japanese female so I could be your sex slave.

Love and respect from Christchurch, the Perth of Australia, without the good weather or the money.