The Time I Accidentally Killed My Dad


At the end, me and Papadukes just couldn't seem to get along, and arguin' almost every time we spoke a word to each other. 

Most of the time our friends Kyle and Wayne would kick it with him while I'd go get drunk and slam pills and s&*!. I was supposedly his in-home caretaker, since he was basically bedridden, but I wasn't even staying at his house anymore most nights. Sure, if I couldn't find a couch to crash on I'd wander in at 4 am and hope he was asleep. I'd pop in around 3 or 4 pm once a day to hit him up for money. 

Maybe, it was unlikely but still maybe, I'd do something that made it superficially seem I like I earned my unreasonable demands... it was always half-a^%ed as f&*! though. Cook a meal but it'd be two eggs scrambled still runny cause I couldn't wait 60 more seconds for em to finish, with two pieces of plain white bread cause toast was too much work. Take him to an appointment, but demand way more than anyone deserves for an hour and a half of sitting in a car listening to music. $200? Wtf Pops? Are you dumb? You know it costs more than that dude... 

He'd say no, but he'd also get too tired of dealing with my s&*!, so he'd let me take the card to the ATM after I dropped him off, all so I'd leave him alone. 

$300 always sounded more fair to me. 

I went through a lot dealing with his bulls&*!. I deserved it. 

Whenever I did sit and have a conversation, I'd be doing it waiting for the moment he'd ask me to do a little better for him so I could get offended and harass him for money. Basically extort it out of him by blaming him for making me watch him die like he was any happier with it than I was.

He did the same emotional "You hurt me, now do something to make up for hurting me" thing to me, though. I just thought that cause when I said I was hurt, I didn't really mean it and I was just sayin' it to get what I want, everyone else was doin' the same s&*!. 

If I didn't really mean it, nobody really meant it. After all, I was the only person who wasn't f&*!ed up and shady. Not my fault the world is like that.

Car rides to his doctors at the end were f&*!in' torture for both of us. We'd be in such a small space, and all we could think about was what we wanted to say to one another but couldn't. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but both of us were thinkin' the exact same thing. I know it cause we were sayin' the exact same thing in these moments and reacting to the the exact same words in the exact same way. 

We were sayin' the same thing for sure, but we meant different s&*! by it. That's what I didn't understand. That misunderstanding ended up f&*!in' me in the end. 

We both wanted to say "I love you, I need help. I'm sorry for it all. I know I hurt you sometimes. I didn't ask for it to be this way. I just f&*!in' suck at everything. I'm broken and I can't help it that I'm like this. I know you don't know you do it on purpose and its not your fault, but it hurts when you do or say that, please stop"

The difference was he couldn't help hurting me, but I coulda stopped myself if I wanted to. 

Neither of us asked for it to be that way, but he asked the universe for it to change and his mortality couldn't change. If I asked for it to change, it woulda.

Neither of us sucked at everything. We both sucked at one thing though: Saying what we really felt, cause when we did people would hurt us for it. 

Especially when we told each other. So we both just never talked about how we felt. We knew we could hurt each other the most cause we loved each other the most, and neither of us could risk getting hurt that bad.

He was broken beyond repair. He really couldn't help it.

I coulda helped it though. I couldn't see the need to fix it. The world needed to change, not me. That f&*!ed up view is what I couldn't help. I couldn't see what I couldn't see.

I thought when people said that sorta thing about being broken and can't be fixed, they were lying just like me. I was the only person who had morals.

I coulda been fixed easily, but only by me. Everyone told me how to do it for a long time everywhere I went. People usually spotted my problem right as we were gettin' to know each other. Some people picked up on it in under an hour at a party or bar just watchin' me talk to other people and tried to warn me. 

I just didn't wanna be fixed. 

I really did love him more than anything, though. I just didn't know what love really meant at the time.

Neither of us knew how to communicate. No matter what either of us said, we couldn't keep "I love you but when you do or a say a certain thing it makes me feel horrible and I just need you to change it slightly and it'll stop hurting" from getting all twisted by how angry we were at life for putting us in this spot. 

We needed someone to blame but there was nobody to blame because nobody did it to us, life did, so we just blamed each other. 

We used each other as punching bags cause we knew we knew we'd always forgive each other. 


And so our arguments were ultimately just a game of how many times could scream that same sentence at each other in different words before one of us lost composure, flipped the other the bird and stormed off. 

One day, me and him got into an argument that... just... kept... escalating...

It just kept goin' cause neither of us would back down. Both of us were standing on pride and neither would let the other win. 

It got to the point where he told me he was gonna kill himself, and because I was so angry with him not backin' down and lettin' me win the way he knows he's gotta to get out of these things... 

and because I was still carrying all the pain and bad thinking that led to things getting where they were.... 

and because I was in my early 20s and never learned how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way... 

I uh... I said something I probably shouldn't have...

It was just... just the way he tried to guilt trip me with that threat so many times that I knew by now it wasn't real. 

It was just a guilt trip... it always was every time he said it and he had said it a lot. I knew he wasn't really gonna do it cause I'd heard a million people make that threat a billion times and not once did anyone ever follow through. I'm definitely guilty of throwing the threat around in the heat of the moment more times than I can count.

Pretty sure we all are. It's only human.

Everyone knows when people say that shit it's either to a cry for attention or a guilt trip to manipulate someone. 

"What the fuck Pops, are you 13 or somethin'?"

So, I snapped. I told him "Go do it then". 

I'm not gonna let someone play on my emotions with that obvious bullshit. I'm just not a sucker like that.

Super Bowl Sunday. February 2012. I was trying to wake him up and give him a beer. We had gotten into a really bad argument 3 days before all this and had barely spoken since. The one time we saw each other since the fight was the night after it all went down when I tried to apologize, but all he said was "Why do you hurt me?" over and over no matter what I tried saying to him.

Three days later, the Super Bowl was on. I thought now would be a good time to try and apologize. I knew what I said was technically out of line, but he was just trying to bait something like that outta me. I mean I was tryin' to bait a reaction 7 like the suicide threat outta him. I could tell it didn't really hurt him a lot more than any of our other little squabbles usually do. 

He faked it pretty well though. Never seen him pull it off that good.

We had spoken one time since the argument, it was when I tried to apologize to him. 

All he said in that interaction was "Why do you hurt me?" repeatedly... over and over... no matter what I said...

"Dad I love you. I'm sorry. I didn't meant it" 

"But why do you hurt me then?". 

"Dad I was mad, I got worked up I just wanted to go get high and you were blowing down on me. I just wanted it to stop"

"But you hurt me"

"Why are you doing this you know I love you. Just talk to me man, we don't gotta keep fightin''"

"So why do you hurt me?"


That's how I ended my half of the argument. I just couldn't take his garbage bulls&*! trying to guilt trip me instead of moving on like an adult. He knew it was just things people say when they get worked up. It was so f&*!in' childish of him to do that. I couldn't stand him sometimes...

"Why do you hurt me?"

I couldn't even respond... Why would he play games like that? 

Then the next day I just f&*!ing knew he was gonna need something else like food, or his medicine from the pharmacy, or to clean the f&*!in' kitchen he could barely even walk to. 

"Dude what the f&*! are you talking about food? I made you a grilled cheese sandwich 10 hours ago. Go the f&*! away. I'm playing my League. You don't understand, this s&*! is hard, I'm good. I'm having fun. Stop thinking of yourself Dad. Selfish prick."

"And your medicine? Wait... heart meds or pain meds? Pain meds? Alright then... Hell f&*!in' yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about. All day, every day. No problem. I want 10 of them for my trouble, though. You owe me that for 10 minutes of driving. 

Heart meds? You'll live a day without 'em. Don't worry about it."

"And if you f&*!in' mention that god d&*! kitchen one more time. I swear man... You can barely walk that far, why do you care? So the one time a week you go out there your house isn't a dump? That's so stupid... Your room's a dump too." 

"What the f&*! did you just say?!? Man get the f&*! out with that. Just cause I brought your room up, you're gonna ask me to clean that too? For what? Cause you think you're cute? You think I'm gonna let you make fun of me? No, I'm not cleaning your f&*!in room for you just because you can barely stand up on your own. Why the would you even ask that? What are you, 5? I've got s&*! I wanna do Dad. Stop only thinking about yourself." 

And he always had the s&*!tiest reasons like:

He gave me a lot of money to basically get high and play video games and do absolutely nothing else even remotely useful. He thought that meant I had to at least make it look like I was doin' something in order for the little "caretaker" fiction I told people to look true. He'd tell me he didn't want me to look like the massive piece of s&*! I was. 

I wasn't gonna stand for him insulting me like that. What kinda father treats their first born son that way?


I knew exactly what to say: 

"Wait what the f&*! did you just say Dad? Do you know how bad it hurts when you make up s&*! like that? Do you realize how bad you hurt me? Put yourself in my shoes you self-serving trash person."

Another reason he liked to try and use to push me around was that it was his house and he wanted it clean.

Can you believe that shit muh dude? All he gave a fuck about was himself. He never thought about what I wanted. He'd ask for all of that kind of stupid bullshit from me

Just listen to some of the shit he'd try to manipulate me into doing: 

"Mow his lawn so the neighbors don't talk trash about him"? Is he fuckin' serious with that shit? I didn't a fucking landscaping company logo tattooed on my forehead. Where did he get the idea that I was his god damn gardener?

or get this one

"Drive over to my friends house and bring him by so we can hang out for once cause I haven't gotten to see him in months. You never clean shit so I'm always to embarassed to invite him over. I miss my only friend in the world and he can't drive cause his car is in the shop." Seriously, how does this prick come up with these melodramatic speeches? Dude should be writing fucking so operas. I can't believe he actually think anyone is naive enough to fall for that sorta garbage.

I'm not a sucker though. I'd always bounce right back with some fire to put him in his place and let him know I wasn't playing his games.

"Dude who gives a f&*! about your reputation? I sure as s&*! don't. Get over yourself."

Got em, coach...

"And your stupid f&*!in' friend? How would he get here if I was gone? Ya, I'll go get him, but you owe me for that disrespectful a^& s&*! you just said about me being lazy. $50 should do it. I'm getting dope sick and your dumb "I wanna see my best friend" bulls&*! is a waste of my time. You can go ahead and be f&*!in' lonely. Being lonely is easy. 

I can't let myself get dopesick dad. My problems are bigger than yours.

Stop thinking of yourself and think of me for once. Egotistical bastard."

Turns out I can overact to make people feel guilty too, homie.

Get fuckin' rekt.

I couldn't believe I'd go through *all that bullshit for him*, and he'd *still* have the nerve to tell me "No" when I asked for the money he knew I *needed* to get high. It's only fair. I earned that money by putting up with his overdramatic "Dave I'm dying you gotta help more please" garbage. 

I swear he just never looked at things from my point of view. Being addicted is hard...

All that lazy fuck ever did was lie in bed all day bitching about how much it hurt to stand up... Selfish prick. He acted like he was the only person on the planet to break his spine four times and have multiple fused or herniated discs... and he would throw in the surgeries that went bad like I told him to agree to them or something. Honestly he was one of the biggest babies about some of the most minor shit. How did he get it in his head that I owed him a god damn thing?

I promise you've never seen someone act as entitled as that whiny fucker, and then he'd turn and call me spoiled, manipulative, and emotionally abusive with a straight face. He had to be picturing himself lookin' into a mirror to keep that act up I swear. It was such a fuckin' joke.

So anyway, Super Bowl Sunday. February 2012. I was trying to wake him up and give him a beer. We had gotten into a really bad argument 3 days before all this and had barely spoken since. The one time we saw each other since the fight was the night after it all went down when I tried to apologize, but all he said was "Why do you hurt me?" over and over no matter what I tried saying to him.


I figured the Super Bowl was the perfect chance to bury the hatchet. We always watched it while kicked back beers and just shot the shit every year without fail, no matter what. It was basically a holiday for us, same as a lot of families. I figured we would watch the big game together and everything would go back to being just fine.We always went back to being just fine.


We got in arguments almost every day... its just how we were. Yelling at each other was pretty much our way of saying "I love you." No big deal. We were always fine.

Only this time, it was not just fine at all, and it was never gonna be again.

I had fucked up bad... really really fucked it all then turned around and took a shit on everything and it's gonna stay fucked up that way till the day I die.

Nobody is ever gonna fix how fucked up things were, still are, and are always gonna be.

Bad. Just bad. Not in a good way either.

Like the worst bad can get and forever.

It turned out "Why do you hurt me?" were the last words I was ever gonna hear him say.

People always tell me what he chose to do isn't my fault. They say "don't beat yourself up" and "Stop wallowing in guilt for something someone else did."

I think what goes on in their head is that people always blame themselves for that sorta thing, and it's never their fault. People think "You didn't put a gun to their head, you didn't force the pills down his throat. He made the decision on his own."

In 99% of cases that may be true, but my case is by no means the norm.

What people fail to realize is even if I didn't physically move his hands for him, I did heavily influence him emotionally. I was the person he loved and depended on more than anyone else. He needed me, and I straight up took advantage of that fact by tellin' him I'd only help if he gave me what I wamted first, and then spit in his face and called him a crybaby when he gave it to me and got nothing in return. Then he begged me to live up to my end of that bargain. Eventually he just wanted an answer for why his baby boy, his pride and joy, didn't care about him at all he.


He gave up on ever getting what I promised I'd give. He just wanted to know why the light of his life refused to shine.

I told him he was an asshole for daring to insult me by asking that question. 

I need to take responsibility for what I did to him. I definitely am to blame, at least partially. I don't hurt over it. I'm not wallowing in guilt and crying myself to sleep over it I used to do that shit, but what I'm saying to you is something different than what it sounds like.

I realize it wasn't something I did on purpose these days. I just couldn't see what I couldn't see. If I don't take responsibility, I won't be able to see the things that this all revealed to me anymore. If I don't stay honest with myself  about the mistake I made, I'll keep making it.

Feeling guilty and feeling responsible are two different things. Wallowing in guilt cause you get off on feeling bad and taking responsibility in order to motivate change are two entirely different songs, even if they share a lot of the same lyrics.

I used to down a liter of whiskey and go "Oh poor me... everyone please shower me with sympathy and tell me I'm not to blame. Pat me on the back and praise me for being a true survivor for carrying this weight", then I'd act all relieved and go "Ya you're right... I didn't do it, he did. Thanks, you really shined some light on things... maybe I can finally forget the pain," when they gave in and told me what I wanted to hear to shut me up.

Nowadays I don't drink. When people tell me I'm not to blame and refuse to listen after I tell them, "You weren't there what makes you think you have a right to decide that. Yes I'm responsible. Save your platitudes I'm tired of hearing them," I start to get furious.

I'm not a survivor for carrying this weight. I'm a piece of shit for earning it. I don't deserve respect for any of this. I'm trying to change, but that doesn't mean I'm special. Trying to fix what's wrong with me so I don't fuck up that bad again is the bare minimum expectation, not some hero act that sets me apart.

 The guy who got put in my shoes and sacrificed himself to take care of his father's every want and need before he even thought about his own is the guy who's carrying a real burden. That guy has to deal with the pain of watching the person he loves the most slowly die every single day of his life. I carried that weight once too, and I can tell you from carrying both that one is heavier than what I'm carrying now. Doing the right thing in those shoes extends your time shouldering that burden, and trust me he's will aware of that. He still plays atlas and holds the world up for the person he loves more than life itself without ever once asking why or letting himself consider quitting cause that person deserves someone who will hold the world up for him, and he loves them which makes it his duty.

That dude is a true survivor. He's out there, I promise. Track him down and go praise him. He's the one who deserves it.

I looked at what life would be if I tried to be that guy and do my duty, saw that the only reward was love, and decided love was a lie so duty was for suckers. I opted for the easy way out, and the weight I carry is just the last tiny shard of the world I dropped on purpose hanging around to remind me I'm a weakling for letting Pops down. 

If I could have the chance to do it all again though, I'd still choose the other road even it's longer and tougher. There's some things in life you just can't see from the perspective you've been handed by the universe; I was about to be given a new perspective, and I was not going to like what I saw when I saw all the things I'd been missing.

Hearing my Dad say he loves me would be more than worth carrying that weight. Knowing I did right by him would make holding up his world would feel like an honor and a privilege. 

Making him proud by being that strong is worth more than all the money in the world, but at the time I thought the idea of all that was something a marketing firm made up to trick housewives and teenage girls. I just could not see all the things I couldn't see, and refused to believe everyone who could see them plain as day when they told me what they saw.

I think you know what happened when I tried to hand Papadukes that beer and watch that game.

He wasn't dead in a medical sense, not yet at least. He just would not wake up. He was still breathing. I checked and double checked. His chest was still rising and falling and stuff. 

But nothing... and I mean nothing... at all... would wake him up.

I remembered I'd seen him kinda like this once before, but he talked that time and asked for help. That time I called the ambulance and they came and they saved him. He let me call that ambulance that time cause he knew something was for real wrong and he was gonna die if he didn't.

My thinking at the time was that story proved that if he was gonna die, he knew it, and he'd let me call the ambulance.

"He hates the ambulance... Bet if I threaten to call he wakes up..."

"Dad if you don't wake up I'm calling the ambulance!"

He popped right the f&*! up when he heard that. Shook his head no, like he thought that ambulance would murder him. I've never seen someone so afraid of an ambulance. Then flopped back down and went back to sleep. He ain't dyin'. He woulda let me call if he was.

There it is... f&*!in' knew he could hear me... 

Like I don't know he's fakin'... Dude thinks I'm dumb I swear... 

Why's he not want the ambulance to come again though? Oh right cause he's faking it, duh. 

Only one reason for that bs. 

Knew this dumb s&*! was gonna happen. I don't know why he bothers with this. 

He just doesn't want the paramedics catching him being childish. He's trying to avoid apologizing to me. I already gave him an apology, he owes me one back now too. 

He can't fake his like I did either. He's gotta mean it cause he hurt me and I didn't hurt him... He's just fakin sad. He just doesn't wanna do it cause he's a baby. Self centered a&*hole.

He's just ignoring me cause he knows I'm right, and he doesn't wanna apologize. He's playing his stupid selfish games. 

Not gonna work, Pops. I'm hip to your bulls&*!. Arrogant as f&*! thinkin' you can trick me this way dude. C'mon. Get real.

"Look dude I know your f&*!in fakin it Pops... you just proved it poppin up like that. I know you can hear me. Wake up and apologize like you know you're supposed to already man. Stop being a f&*!ing baby."

Still wouldn't wake up... 

Thinks he's slick or something. He must think I'm sooooo dumb. He knows I'm not dumb. Why does he try to fool me with his stupid s&*!? Never even stops to consider how dumb he looks to me right now. Put yourself in my shoes for once Dad.

"Alright then, since you wanna be childish I'm callin' the ambulance right now."

Nothin. At least he figured out he messed up movin like that before. He's smart but he aint gonna fool me. He thinks I'm bluffing. Stop underestimatin' me, Pops. I know your little games. Have you ever stopped to think of who you're dealing with? I'm not dumb man. Take a look at yourself for real man. You look so f&*!in' dumb, and you can't even see it. 

"K. pops, I'm dialin' "

I really dialed too. Had to let him hear me press the keys so he knew this wasn't a bluff. Then he'll get up.

Nothin? D&*!... He's committed.... I uh... F&*! it just play along. Go through the call. Can't believe the nerve of this dude makin me do all this just cause he can't see through his own bulls&*!. 

All to get out of apologizing to me, which he knows he owes me. I didn't even do anything wrong in that argument. I just wanted to go get high and he comes in and dumps a bunch of crybaby nonsense on me.

"Ya... Ya won't wake up.. I don't know. Haven't seen him out bed in a couple days... Last I saw him and he was up... uh... 2 days ago, maybe 3... ya... haven't seen him up since, right... Ya he's still breathin... 100% sure. I always make sure his chests movin' first thing... Ya that's the address... K Pops they're on their way, just stop fakin I'll call back, tell 'em nevermind"

Whelp... umm. Does he think I hung up and was talkin' to no one? I mean he's caught me doing that sorta thing answerin' calls from his doctors when I didn't wanna go before.

Iunno he'll know its not a bluff when the paramedics get here though. He's gonna feel f&*!in' dumb then. Thinkin' this is a game....

They're not gonna be happy with him wastin' their time on this petty bulls&*!. Why can't he just admit I was right? Is it really all that hard Dad? I was the bigger man; I apologized first, that means I won. He does nothing but try to guilt trip things out of me and put me down. Selfish prick.

That night, after the game, after the paramedics pushed him out of the house, and I watched them load him in the ambulance... 

After I watched em drive off... 

I was gonna go back in the house but I saw the front door open and it all seemed... emptier. Too empty. Less than zero people were in that house, and I didn't wanna be that alone. 

My buddy who had been staying with us dipped out with the chick I was using for pills at time, obviously to go get me pills. 

I was sittin' on back of Dad's truck in the driveway, drinking the 22oz PBR I was trying to give him so we could sit and watch the game...

"Oh f&*! the game.... I missed it... F&*! it... at least I still have the beer..."

Man I just wish we coulda had a beer together like we used to every Super Bowl... Back when I first came to FL when s&*! was good. 

Why did he try so hard to turn everything to s&*!? 

I'm gonna give him a real apology when he wakes up... What I said was kind f&*!ed... I owe him a real apology... He'll get one...

"Go do it then"?!? 

Man if people had seen that without knowin' what was really was goin' on inside my head, they'd think I'm some kind of f&*!in monster. I didn't mean it. He had to have known I didn't mean it, even though he sold it hurtin' pretty well. 

I just wanted to go get high and he was tryin' guilt trip into doin' what he wanted and stoppin' with the pills. 

You can't go through life guilt trippin' people you love into giving you what you want though... That's what he doesn't get...

"F&*! man... it's gonna be another year before we get a chance to have a beer and watch the big game like back before when it was good." 

I think I've been told it was a pretty good game? I dunno though... Pretty sure it was Giants v Pats? Green Bay v Pats? I used to remember at least the teams, cause I watched half the first quarter before tryin' to wake up Papadukes.

I try to forget that day ever happened man. Nah, I don't remember who won cause I forced myself to forget who played. I don't wanna know the score or the narrative or any of the s&*! I'd usually memorize so I could prove I watched football at bars years down the road. 

So, I'm drinkin' the beer I got him, sittin on the bumper of his truck, lookin' up at the moon... Somehow it hit me that he wasn't comin home this time. This wasn't the routine. Something was different now, but I didn't know what...

Somehow I just knew my dad was already dead, and even his body was just waitin' to hear the news.

Craig pulls up...

"What you doin out here man?"

"I dunno I just uh... I couldn't sit in there... I wanted to see the sky"

"Paramedics take him?"

"Ya man... I'm pretty sure he's not comin' back this time"

"Nah man, it'll be fine dude... you know this always happens. He'll be back, he always comes back"

"Nah dude... I swear... I dunno how I know but he's just not I can tell"

And I was right... No clue what made me so sure. 

It appeared exactly the same as ten other times he got carted off. I know why Craig thought it was just the same old s&*!.

Something beneath the surface though... 

Something in the air just told my soul he was gone, and he was never coming back. 

At this exact moment in time though, it was just a nagging voice in the back of my mind that kept poppin' up every time I told myself it was all just me bein' paranoid and I couldn't see the future. 

It would tell me that even though I'm definitely paranoid, even if I didn't know the future, I knew for a f&*!in' fact he was gone. 

I could barely hear it. It was just above a whisper in the back of my head. I could still hear it every time and I couldn't ignore it. I knew it was right.

In my f&*!ed up sociopath way, the last words I said to him were "I love you and I'm so sorry" I guess... I dunno my f&*!ed up thinking rationalizes everything that way sometimes... You be the judge:


That says "I love you and I'm sorry"... right? 

I wish coulda told him why I did it. I just didn't know why I did it at the time. 

I was childish piece of s&*!. I can't stand how ignorant I was sometimes. Why the f&*! couldn't I get over myself. 

Egotistical bastard. Selfish prick. Self centered a^%hole.

I was all those and more and there's never going to be a word that properly communicates to people how fully and totally corrupted and mindlessly evil I was. 

I wasn't the only reason he did it. I wasn't even the main one. There was a F&*!TON Dad had gone through to get where he was. I was definitely the f&*!in' straw that broke the camels back though. 

You can tell me that ain't true but I was there for everything you can't see. This is just a peek. 

I was at least 5% to blame; That's 5% too much.

You weren't there. You didn't see any of the s&*! that was just me and him that only me and him saw.

There was something good buried in my heart for sure, but that part of me had no say. It knew it was just there to play a part and keep appearances of humanity.

It's not about self forgiveness for me like it is for normal people who didn't willingly turn as dark as I did. 

For me its about accepting and admitting what a f&*!ing soulless, uncaring monster I had to be in order to turn a blind eye to how f&*!ed up I was, and then doing everything I can to ensure I never let myself become that again by doing as much good as I can.

I honestly, truly believed people's heads worked the same way as mine but worse. I was the good guy just protecting myself from you demons. 

I rationalized all sorts of excuses so I could almost never be in the wrong. I only felt guilty when I failed to live up to my "Honorless code of honor" I had made.

Point blank, the answer to Dad's question about "Why did I hurt him?" It was because I thought I had to, because he was hurting me. I thought he was doing it on purpose and I had to protect myself by doing it back.

That still hadn't hit me yet though. I wish I coulda told Papadukes all that, but I still hadn't seen it... 

I sorta floated through the next day and a half in a dazed state...I remember the first time the hospital called me, they said they didn't wanna tell me the exact problem on the phone. 

They said that it's better to come in and talk to a doctor in person, and it's important that I get there as soon as possible. 

I mean, I knew what it meant really. I hadn't accepted it yet though. I was still telling myself he'd be back in a day or two. 

Denial is strong, if you really don't wanna let yourself see something.

I tried to help the doctors with what I could. I know now that at least part of the answer to "what'd he take?" was his blood pressure medication, because I found an empty bottle that had just been filled like 3 or 4 days before the Super Bowl. 

It was a f&*!ed up speech when I got there. I dunno what order this all come in, but I know this was all the problems all at once and they just railed me with it.

"Did he maybe take something he shouldn't have? Something made this happen. We've got him on three drugs to raise his blood pressure. We can't give him any more by law. This is the maximum dose. His blood pressure is way too low for us to do anything... See this 70 here? That's the pressure leaving his heart. Its never supposed be that low. Every second its this low, his brain doesn't get enough oxygen and he suffers brain damage. His kidneys are failing. For us to put him on dialysis and reverse that, we need that 70 to at least be 80. Part of the reason is his stomach ulcer is bleeding. His blood pressure still shouldn't be this low without some kind of medication causing it, though. We need to know what it was he took so we can reverse it. Even if it's something we can reverse and we did that right away, chances are hes so brain damaged he won't be who you remember."

I mean, it was hopeless basically. I called Mom, told her the news. She talked to Dom and Pat and bought plane tickets. 

They knew what it was; I guess I did, too. I just wasn't bein honest with myself like they were. 

There was this thing I had to sign called a DNR order... Do Not Resuscitate order. It says if someone's heart stops, don't crack their ribs and s&*! trying to save em. It means "we're giving up so just let em go", basically. 

The 4 of us all sat down, agreed that was the play. I'd go in the next day cause I already had enough for one day and sign the order since I was his next of kin. 

We talked about who would get what. I basically said this to my brothers: "You each get 1 guitar. Pick one, it's yours. Be thankful you get that, because really all of this is mine by law now. These guitars are gifts from me, no need to thank me for my generosity here, and you're welcome. Craig can even have one too, but I'm guilting him for whatever I want over it cause he's not even family even though we've known him for the last 20 years" 

Whatever, you get the point by now. 

I still think a lot like that unfortunately. I'm just more aware of how f&*!ed up it is, I guess?

After all that, I stepped out back to the porch to smoke and watch the trees. It made me feel at peace back then to do that. Me and dad used to sit out there for hours...

I don't remember much of the conversation me and Mom had to be totally honest. I know we kinda danced around the issue and made chit chat for a second. Talked about what happened next. Reassured ourselves we we're making the right choice on the DNR. We were, Mom assured me. 

It just sorta... didn't quite feel right I guess...

"I dunno I keep thinking about it...It doesn't feel real. Like you shouldn't be here Mom. Its too soon for all this... I feel like he's gonna pull up any minute"

She just really calmly, really peacefully looked me in the eye gave me a very comforting look that felt like she was saying she knew I was gonna say that then she turned and looked out at the treeline beyond the backyard...

"I felt the same way when my dad died... But you gotta understand, he's gone and its a good thing cause he's not in pain... He's moved on to a better place"

I was dazed for a second while I thought about that. What did she mean "moved"? Moved is past tense, Mom. Past tense means he's gone... That means he's really f&*!in' gone doesn't it....

And with that... Just a verb tense... If he had been moving on, it wouldn't have hit me. Past tense means gone already. He's gone already Dave. Dave stop telling yourself he's not cause you knew he was the moment it happened. 

Every emotion I could think to put to words here couldn't describe what I felt. Everything I ever knew was pushed from my mind. 

I was flooded by a tidal wave of pure grief and remorse that felt like it physically pushed me back in my seat as it passed over me and pulled my everything I'd ever felt out if me. 

"Why did I say that? Go do it then?!? What the f&*! is wrong with you, you heartless piece of trash?!? How could you possibly say something like that to someone who love you that much? All cause you couldn't wait ten minutes to do a stupid f&*!ing pill? How good could it possibly feel? Was the buzz worth it?"

I tell people all the time that it felt like my arm was chopped off. I'm not sure if a soul or an after life are real, but I know there's something that tells your mind they are. That amputated feeling was the part of my soul that died with Dad. 

I realized that he wasn't lying. He meant the things he felt. He didn't lie about them like everyone did. 

"But everyone else is really lying though, right? Dad was just so awesome he was the only one who didn't.... But what if it the other way around... What if I'm the only one who's... No that can't be right cause that would make me a..." 

That was the moment it hit me what I had been doing. The moment it became too late to change, that was the exact moment I wanted to. 

What so many people had been trying to tell me my whole life finally sunk in. 

A cannon blast of guilt hit me and punched a hole in my chest. A weight fell on my shoulders so heavy that it takes physical strength to carry. Nothing about these feelings has changed since that moment.

No words can truly tell you how much this eats at me every single second of every day. 

I know now what I did wrong. I was just too late to fix it. I'm sorry though Dad... I'm so sorry.

That was it... All I could do was yell "Sorry.... I'm so sorry... I didn't know" into the void and hope he heard me somehow.

It wasn't just losing dad... Realizing I had been the bad guy all along. I wasn't the champion fighting for good. How did I let myself even think I was? Realizing I wasn't the hero, I was the monster. That hurt the most.

Every person I manipulated into trusting me. All of what I did seemed so sick and backwards and twisted. I realized how many people there were out there that I had traumatized for fun....

To this day, I relive the few weeks leading up to his death. 

I've thought of a million other things I could have said other than "Go do it then.....". 

People ask me, sometimes, after I tell them about my past, if I have any regrets....

I do, I have so... so... so very many that even if I tried I couldn't put a number.

It doesn't matter how many regrets I have. 

None of 'em are worth mentioning; All of 'em put together don't match how much I regret saying those words at that time for those reasons. 

The way his face instantly warped, and how visibly defeated he was by it... that eats at me constantly. I blamed myself for his suicide because of this specifically for years. I no longer hold myself responsible for his death, and I can't forgive myself for my part in it.

I can't pretend I'm blameless after how much I hurt the one person I loved the most with my self-centered, self seeking, blind to the truth but thought I knew everything bulls&*!.

I dream of Dad a lot. In some of em, he tricks me into thinkin' he never died, and I hop outta bed all perky believin' all this other stuff was the dream. I start headin' to the kitchen to make him some coffee and see if he's hungry like I used to, and I look around and I'm like "Wait... somethings like... whats wrong with my room its not supposed to look like this... wait... no... f&*!... no f&*! no... f&*! no.... nah man it was just a dream.... no no no nono nonono nononononononononono..." and that wave of guilt I felt on the back porch with Mom hits me all over again and I collapse on my bedroom floor and cry. 

I never stop myself from getting fooled, even though I'm always a little aware that its happening. I tell myself not to be get okie doked by it cause if I do it's gonna crush me but part of me wants it to be true, even if I know it never will be, so I tell myself to believe it over and over until I eventually let myself get tricked. It's like losing him all over again every time. I always remember exactly why I told myself not to get tricked and I feel like a monkey for it every... single... time.

All I can do to make up for it is be a better person than the guy you saw here. I'm a different man now, and if Pops could see me, I know he'd be proud of who I am what I'm trying to do today. 

I still need to carry this guilt, and be honest about what happened, to make that change possible and keep myself from changing back.

I’m what happens when you live by the motto ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ then you fuck up and survive
— Rest In Peace, Pops. I Miss You.
Dave Barletta1 Comment