Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Daddy (1 Viewer)

aubie84

Senior Member
When I walked into the emergency room, there lay Daddy, his eyes reddened by the strange goings-on in his head.

Even through the angry and swollen veins, I saw a glint of recognition. He reached for my hand, his eyes searching mine, and spoke. The words came out as jibberish. But there was an urgency in his voice that told me he knew he was in trouble.

I squeezed his hand and tried to comfort him. I could sense his frustration at his inability to communicate. I told him I knew that he was scared. With that, he relaxed.

That was 15 years ago. Daddy, who’d taught for more than 20 years and worked for the state supervising teachers for 10 or so more, was 57, newly retired. He’d been asked to judge a tractor-driving contest and, during the competition, had complained of a headache and of feeling faint. A friend urged him take his refuge in the shade of a tree. He did.

The friend wouldn’t let Daddy drive home. Good thing. On the drive back, Daddy’s end of the conversation became incomprehensible babble. The friend, to whom I’ll be forever grateful, drove Daddy straight to the emergency room in Montgomery. Since I was living in town, the friend called me, and I had been the first of the family to get to Daddy’s side.

Daddy’s brain had hemorrhaged. The doctor said it was bad. There was swelling, and surgery would be Daddy’s best chance for survival. The doctor couldn’t rule out some incapacitation. Good brain matter would likely come out with the bad. He may never walk or talk again. There could be mental damage.

There was another, less promising option. Daddy could be treated with drugs to relieve the swelling and stop the bleeding. The chances for survival were not as good. But, the doctor said, if Daddy made it through the ensuing 48 hours, there was a chance for a near-full recovery.

To the family --- Mama, my brother and sister and me --- there was really no decision to be made. We knew what Daddy would have wanted us to do.

We chose the drugs.

Between the tears, fears and prayers that crowded those critical hours, I thought a lot about what Daddy meant to me. I thought about how alike we were. Daddy is headstrong. So am I. Our frequent clashes so often became impasses because I am my father’s son.

Daddy had taught me the value of work. It wasn’t a lesson I learned easily. My brother and I resented being given summer jobs around the house and farm while our friends spent their days on the lake or at the beach. Often, we’d sneak away to join them. But never for too long. We knew that Daddy would check our progress and we knew that, when he got home, we’d better have done what he'd left us to do.

I thought about how much we’d shared together. The Auburn football games, the deep-sea fishing trips to the Gulf Coast, the annual family vacations that meant so much to him and to me. I thought about how he’d worked to give us things he’d never had, about the Christmas mornings when all I’d asked for was under the tree.

Mostly, I thought about the times I’d disappointed him. I thought about the time I’d been arrested for DUI in college. I remembered going into the judge’s chambers --- something Daddy had my lawyer arrange to save me the embarrassment of a courtroom full of people --- and how Daddy had fought back tears while the judge scolded me. I remembered how small I felt, how ashamed to have reduced to tears a man of such inner strength.

I cried at that memory and said another, more passionate prayer that Daddy would live so I could tell him again that I was sorry.

And that I loved him.

***

Mama called last Wednesday night. She and Daddy had been to a church conference; they’d just returned that afternoon. And Daddy had scared her.

It had happened just that morning. She’d heard him saying, “No, no, no!” and found him with a knife in his shaking hand, his stare vacant and smacking his lips as if tasting something tinny.

Mama had given him the medicine he’s been taking for 15 years now. Daddy was soon himself again and they headed to breakfast. On the way, Daddy asked if Mama had brought his medicine --- the medicine he’d taken just minutes before.

He didn’t remember his attack at all.

***

I don’t know how much longer I’ll have his strength to lean on. I don’t know how long he’ll be there to remind me that I’m no more nor less than who I am. I don’t know if we’ll see any more ballgames together or for how much longer I’ll hear his voice in the choir.

***

I went to see Mama and Daddy yesterday. We talked and laughed and disagreed on politics, like we always do. As I left, I hugged my father --- the man who is everything I always said I wouldn't be, but who I'm becoming to realize is all that I should aspire to be --- and told him I loved him.

Daddy acted as if he didn’t want to let go.

Neither did I.
 
Last edited:

winner

Senior Member
Your story is certainly a moving one. But this writing is more like personal therapy for yourself, like a diary. Or a heart felt tribute from you to your father. And that is okay. It has its place. But, hon, I have to be honest with you, this is not professional writing. This is not material for publishing. You are posting this on a writers forum and it is not a 'writers' material. Perhaps you should go into a chat room and talk about your experience there and get feedback.

My heart goes out to you. I will keep you and your father in my prayers.
 

terrib

Senior Member
Sorry aubie, winner might remember to pray for you but she forgot her manners. You're welcome to write anything you like.
 

aubie84

Senior Member
Sorry aubie, winner might remember to pray for you but she forgot her manners. You're welcome to write anything you like.

Everyone has their opinions and she's entitled to hers. Doesn't really bother me one whit. I will continue to write and I will continue to post. She's certainly not obliged to read it.

aubie84
 

workingauthor

Senior Member
Your story is certainly a moving one. But this writing is more like personal therapy for yourself, like a diary. Or a heart felt tribute from you to your father. And that is okay. It has its place. But, hon, I have to be honest with you, this is not professional writing. This is not material for publishing. You are posting this on a writers forum and it is not a 'writers' material. Perhaps you should go into a chat room and talk about your experience there and get feedback.

My heart goes out to you. I will keep you and your father in my prayers.

Interesting that winner could think that Aubie's piece is non-publishable material. Pick up a compilation book of personal essays and see what gets published. You'd be surprised. Creative non-fiction is an interesting world.

As for Aubie's piece: I think it's non-publishable because of the way it's written, not due to material. It's a little superficial, meaning: All we get is exposition about your relationship/history with your father. The goal for a piece like this is to reveal something about the human condition. To that end, I feel your piece would have been better served by one memory or thought related to the possible death of your father.

Fear of carrying on without the patriarch.

Hatred for the man in your young, rebellious years, but discovering the deep well of love you feel for him on his possible death bed.

Etc. The point is, you'll probably benefit from writing from a stronger angle.

Hope this helps.

R
 

Amara-J

Senior Member
Thank you for sharing. Smooth, touching, and something many can relate to. In regards to publishing (should the thought come up), I'm actually seeing this as newspaper story material. In our local Sunday paper, there's a "Share Your Personal / Heartwarming / True Stories" section, and the weekly selection there runs along the lines of what you wrote. :)

~Amara-J
 
J

Jenaisis

I like this piece--very personable. Your language was informal and easy to understand. I'd like to read more. :)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top