Celene, 15, just lost her father to cancer. She is having trouble coping with the sadness, and the guilt she feels for not having done more while he was alive...
I went shopping for Reeboks, and my father was dying of cancer. What was I thinking? He gave me money and I went out and went to the mall and bought myself sneakers, and he was lying in bed. He could hardly get out of bed.
I bought Urban Decay nail polish. And I met Charlie and I had Chinese food with him. And I decided to go to his house and play Risk. And when I finally got home, Dad was so weak, he could hardly stand up. He'd been gagging and retching and Mom was there and we took him to that nightmare doctor, Dr. Luskin. And Dr. Luskin put him in the hospital and he never came home. I cried because I was so relieved that he was going to the hospital. I couldn't stand to listen to his sick noises. To his suffering.
Mom never said anything to me. But I know that she thought I should have stayed home with him.
I had to throw out the nail polish after he died. I gave away the Reeboks.
All I can think about is how I should have stayed home that afternoon, and all those afternoons, not gone to basketball practice, not left him to that visiting nurse who came an hour a day three days a week, who took his blood pressure and temperature. And the physical therapist who made him stand next to the kitchen counter and lift his leg.
The man was almost dead and they were making him do exercises.
I should have protected him. I should have got him morphine. I should have been there in the hospital with him when he died.
But no, I was at home, asleep. Mom was there with him. Mom said it was okay. He died peacefully. But how could it be peaceful to die?
I hated him being sick for so long. Three years of him being sick. Until the doctors figured out what the trouble was. And the last time I saw him in the hospital, he said that I should go play basketball.
Go play basketball? That's what I did with him. The hoop in front of the house. I miss playing with him. Even when he was sick, he came out and played with me. He'd sit in his wheelchair and pass the ball to me.
Now I don't want to be on the team anymore. Every time I play I wish that he was there to watch me. Coach says I'm not working hard enough. He doesn't know that every time I run up the court, I hear my father's voice, like a bell, only I can't hear what he's saying. Only I know that he's talking to me.
I wish I had sat by his bed more and paid attention to his stories. Now I can't remember them. I know that when he was in high school, he rode his bike all the way to Montauk, but I don't know what happened once he got there. I know he ran a marathon but I don't know when or where. And Mom doesn't remember.
Mom says, Life goes on. She keeps working and she says thank God she has me, I'm what keeps her going. But what's going to keep me going?
She took me to a therapist - a grief counselor. I couldn't stand the woman. She was wearing powder all over her face. You could see the line at her chin. Who could trust somebody like that?
One night I clipped my father's toenails for him. They were so hard, more like elephant skin than human. He was already not completely human. Death had taken him over. And I should have done a better job.
I should have cared more; I should have been there for him.
And now I have no more chances.
I wonder what he's saying to me. If he's angry with me. If he's in heaven. If he's happy.
All of my friends have to have fathers who are alive and breathing. And my father had to die. I can't go to their houses because I can't stand to see their fathers, or even their father's things strewn around the house-a briefcase, a tie, a golf club, a coffee cup. I want to take the coffee cup and smash it against the wall because my father will never drink coffee again. I feel angry at him and then I feel guilty for being angry.
I wish I could believe that I would see him one day. But that's a bunch of garbage. Total garbage. He's gone. And I'll never see him. There'll never be anybody who loved me the way he loved me. Never.