Ten years ago today. You've been gone 10 years, today.
I feel I need to share my dad with all my friends today, but I just don't have the strength to write this story. So this is a post I wrote last year.
I've been writing a lot CHD awareness and stuff having to do with CHD. But I think today I need to do something different. I need to introduce my hero to my world. No one in my CHD world knows about my hero. They all call me strong, tell me how strong I am. But I need to introduce them to the person who taught me how to be strong.
His name was David Alan Goffard. And he was, is, my daddy. I don't remember a lot about him. Really nothing from when he wasn't sick. I want to say I was 6 when he was diagnosed. But I don't know for sure. When I was young my dad was diagnosed with leukemia.
I remember the day when my dad thought he might be sick. My mom, brother and I where in the living watching television. My dad was upstairs watching television. We where sitting there and then dad came down the stairs. You could see the stairs from the living room. Dad came down just enough to so we could see him and said "Carrie I think I need to make a doctors appointment." or "Carrie remind me to make a doctor appointment." Not exactly sure which one, but I remember that he came down and said something along those lines. It don't remember much after that, except me and my brother where dropped off at my grandma's house while they went to the doctors. It was just suppose to be a routine check up. But we got a call saying they where taking him up to the hospital. That's really when this journey started.
I don't remember much and I really hate that. Dad was in an out of hospitals getting tests and chemo. My brother and I always stayed with grandparents. Sometimes my dad wouldn't allow us to come see him because he didn't want us to see him like that.
One specific memory, It might of been the day they found out, or one of the other appointments but I remember my grandma taking us home because they where going to be later then they thought. I just sat staring out the window eating cheeze its.
This journey wasn't a very easy one. My mom had to go back to work to help pay bills. We had to rent a house in Wisconsin to be near a better hospital. I remember there was this boy, his family was renting the house across the street. His mom was sick. We hung out a lot we road bikes, went and played basketball, be collected sakada bug. We rolled down the big hill behind our rent house. We where there off and on for a few years. I remember we came back to the house one time and I found a pair of sunglasses I lost before. We did a lot in that house. That was the house in which I learned my grandpa puts yogurt on his salad. That's the house in which I got athletes foot from the shower. That's the house where my grandma introduced me to Jesus. Which is good, I really needed him then, now and forever.
This journey was hard. I can only imagine how hard it was for my mom. She had to hold the house together while both my dad and I where sick. She had to arrange cardiologist appointments, oncologist appointments, emergency hospital stays and visits, she had to work, and feed us, and make sure we went to school. She had to break up the stupid petty fights my brother and I had. She held it all together when anyone would understand if she fell apart and ran away. And that is the reason she is my second hero.
My life with my dad was a blur of visiting hospitals, trying to beat each others high scores on the hand held yahtzee. A blur of going to the movies, hospital food and riding the bed. A blur of dad being healthy then sick, then healthy then sick. My life with my dad was a blur of laughter, love, tickle monster, horror movies, and him yelling at us to clean up our rooms. My life with my dad was a blur of my mom changing IV's in the living room, oh him laying in his hospital bed in the living room. Of him sleeping downstairs and hearing him snore. Of both of us being sick.
My life with my dad was a blur of him not being there, a blur of him not wanting to see us because he was in such horrible shape. A blur of just little pieces of memories of him, because I didn't get to see him a lot. My life with my dad was a blur of wondering, does he love me? Because to be honest, sometimes it felt and looked like he didn't.
My life with my dad was a blur of living with grandma and her turning into a mom and I hated her for that. My life with my dad was a blur of terror hearing he was in the hospital again. But then of excitedment. Complete joy when we heard he was coming home.
One time my brother and I where staying with our grandma. We where outside playing with our cousin April when out mom called us and told us "dad is coming home". Dan was so excited that he want me and April to make up a happy dance song thing to greet him with. It was Dan jumping up and down and landing on a nail. It went through his shoe into his foot. But it didn't break his spirits. After the first shock and pain, after it was pulled out and his foot patched up, he was right back to the excitement. My brother and dad had an amazing relationship. Something I wish I could say I had too.
My life with my dad was a blur of waking up to random people in my house. I remember one time I dreamed a phone rang and someone I knew but didn't live with us answered. I woke up to the phone ringing, my grandma answered it because in the middle of the night my mom had to take dad to the hospital so he came over.
My life with my dad was a blur of hanging out with cousins while my mom, dad, dads parents, and dads brother go to Wisconsin so my dad can get a bone marrow transplant from my uncle. It was a blur or surgeries, my had a fake hip.
My life with my dad was him taking odd jobs to make money. At one point in life he was a my bus driver. I remember the exact day my dad died. I remember everything that happened.
It was a school day. My dad was my bus driver. I always made sure I was the last one off the bus just to say bye to him. But me being the 11 year old that I was just mumbled bye and got off the bus. Its what kids do the don't want to show love in front of friends. That day when I was getting off the bus something in my head was yelling at me, telling me to hug him and tell him I love him. I fought with myself the whole length of the bus. My head wouldn't let up it just kept screaming TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM. But I just couldn't so I mumbled bye and went on my way. Later that day, near the end of class my mom came to my school to give me a key to the house. She told me that dad got sick and was in the hospital so I needed to let myself in. Which is normal, I've been doing that for years. I got home, and waited for my brother. My mom finished her bus rounds (see too drove a bus, the couple that works together stays together) and went straight to the hospital to see my dad. Late that night my grandparents came and picked us up. It was getting bad. My dad had pneumonia, and because of the cancer his immune system was shot. Fluid was filling his lungs, he was turning blue. My grandma grabbed her rosary and took me and my brother up to her bedroom to pray. Next thing that happened was we got taken over to a cousins house. My grandparents wanted to be with the son. So we slept at our cousins. My aunt said she would wake us up in time for school. I woke up at 6. We where suppose to get up at 6. And I remember laying in the top bunk of my cousins bed watching my cousins clock blink, 6am 6:02 am. When it got to 6:30 am i started getting worried, confused and scared. I wanted to get off the bed and go find someone, talk to someone. But I couldn't make myself move. I knew something had to be wrong. I laid in bed trying to make myself move. Eventually I got down and left the room. I passed my cousins bedroom and he and my brother where playing video games. I walk into the living room, and see my mom, aunt and uncle sitting there. They where so still, talking so faintly. That's when my mom pulled me aside and told me what happened. My brother came in and we all cried today.
The next few days where horrible. My mom told me how our neighbor came over and asked what Dave was up to and she had to tell him. The super had to tell all the kids on the bus. Mom made sure that Dan and I went and played with the neighbors like we always did. That was the day, that I danced in the rain. It was a Tuesday my dad died. So we didn't go back to school until the next Tuesday. I remember the wake. I've never seen my uncle cry before, and it wasn't something I ever want to see again. One of my best friends from school came to show support. My uncle and aunt flew in from California. Our neighbors came. I remember my neighbor just hugging me and letting me cry on her chest. I remember my mom bringing a pager and a gun to be put in the casket to be buried with him. She accidentally left it under a chair and had to put it in the day of the actual funeral. The day of the funeral I didn't want to go. I didn't want to get dressed. I didn't want to shower. Nothing. My mom took me to the bathroom and told me it was okay to cry. And told me that if I didn't want to show it I could cry in the shower. So I did. I showered and cried. Picked out an outfit my dad liked and cried. Got dressed and cried. We put his canoe on top of his bronco and took that to the funeral home. He would of loved it. We did the funeral thing and then we went to the ceremony. It got to the point where we went to put flowers on top. My cousin almost fell in. It gave us a very needed laugh.
My dad Is my hero. He taught me how to fight. So when people tell me wow your so strong, I think of him. He was the guy, beaten up from cancer yet still went outside to play catch with me. He was my dad and I love him. And I hate myself for not saying goodbye.
This has been the hardest thing for me to write but I'm glad I did it. The world needs to see how strong my dad was.