The day and year that I really grew up was definitely an important experience. One that I would have forgone forever. This was the day that my dad passed away. He was only sixty-two years old, died of a heart attack, and left his family reeling in shock and dismay.
My dad was the head of the family. He made all the decisions, was the disciplinarian, and was the core of my support system. He had a very minor heart attack about one year prior to his final day. When he had his fatal heart attack on December 2nd everyone was getting ready for the holidays. My dad had just won an award as Salesman of the Year for his insurance company and was home relaxing with a friend. My mom was Christmas shopping with this friend’s wife. On her way home from shopping my mom actually followed the ambulance to our house not knowing it was for her husband. What a shock.
From that day forward, I realized that this would affect my life more directly than I could ever imagine. My dad was the guy I would go to when there was a problem or concern. I was married at the young age of nineteen, my husband was twenty-one, and probably because we lived close to home it was easy to continue my dependency on my dad. He had always been the person I would go to when I wanted to fix a situation such as finances or just plain life.
I feel that because I was young, my dad was always there, he felt like stability and a force of knowledge. In retrospect to becoming my father’s passed created the opportunity for my husband and me to become a true partnership. After my dad passed I finally felt that I had to grow up and depend on my husband for life decisions and companionship. I would go to my mom for small happenings, but my dad had been the main go-to.
I feel I was quite immature in my thinking that this was the way to handle being married, but I really had no other example and this felt safe.
It is interesting to realize after he was gone that as a couple we actually could be and would be able to act like grownups.