Sunday, March 4, 2012

5 years already?

So, February 21st marked 5 years since I lost my beloved second daddy, Bill Stroupe. It was sudden and completely unexpected. When I got the call, I thought it was Hospice in Harrisburg, PA calling me to tell me that my daddy had passed away peacefully.
Billy and his wife Ina (my second mommy) were a huge part of my life growing up. They lived across the street and couldn't have children of their own; so they kinda adopted me as their own. I went on vacations with Ina, spent the night with her all the time. Our bus stop was right in front of her fence gate. She knew that I skipped breakfast a lot and would forget to pack my lunch because it took so long for me to get up and motivated for school. So, most mornings she would have a breakfast "to go" ready for me and a brown bag lunch with all kinds of yummy healthy food. Billy was a coin collector who owned his own gas station and garage. Ina was a nurse at the Emergency Room. She mainly worked night shifts. I remember going over each afternoon and watching her undo all those clips in her hair just to do an updo and spray the living daylights out of it with aerosol hairspray. And she never left the house without looking damned good from head to toe. Billy could care less...he was always in his garage clothes, unless it was a holiday. After my family's holiday dinner, I would always run over to spend time with my precious set of second parents that I treasured; and was so blessed to have. I could go on an on forever about my second set of parents. They were such wonderful people; and I know that they are both some of my most fiercest protective angels.
Well, the day before Billy died he had his cardio pulmonary check-up and all was tip-top shape. Billy only had one lung, and the other functioned minimally. He had black lung. Well, at about 3am, he had an asthma attack (which was typical) and his aorta exploded before he could ever even reach his inhaler.
So, like I said when I got the call, I thought it was about my dad who was in Hospice Care in PA taking his last breaths. So, I left work early because I was way too shaken up to be of much use anyway. I went to my then boyfriend's house (he's an ex now). I decided that I would spend the night in the den downstairs to feel safe and close to someone I loved.
I awoke very early the next morning on February 22nd in a panic and just burst into tears. It wasn't but a few hours later, my sister called to say that my daddy had passed away early in the morning (about the time I awoke in a panic).
My daddy will always be in my heart and life. I was always daddy's little shadow growing up. After the divorce, he got us every Sunday. After a while, my two sisters stopped going with him on Sundays. They saw him as the devil. I never did, nor will I ever understand how in the world they could think that just by what other people said. Daddy didn't do gifts or holidays, but he gave me love and life lessons. And that's way more than the latest cool shoes could have done for me. By the time I was ready to graduate High School, it was evident that my daddy's health had worsened and the emphysema had set in pretty hard. He was too sick to even make it to my graduation ceremony. But, as time passed we got closer and closer. His illnesses brought me to understand what compassion and family are truly about. Especially after my oldest sister passed away. (That's a story for another time).

It's just been a rough couple weeks...I sit here and laugh myself into tears, and cry myself into laughter over all the memories I have of the wonderful men that I was blessed to have as my daddies.

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