In my previous post I mentioned the short story I wrote that was published in my college’s literary magazine. It deals with the death of my father. The title back comes from picking one color and writing anything you want. It’s a great exercise and you may be surprised with what you come up with. I highly suggest you give it a try. I chose the color Black. The names and dates have been changed to protect those who do not want to be identified.
Black. Black is the first color that comes to my mind. When I think of black I think of death. I think of funerals. I think of the black Calvin Klein dress I always wear to a funeral. I think of heart attacks. I think of my dad. I think of June 13, 2003. I think of tears. I think of heart ache. I think of sadness . I think of cold. I think of Heaven. I think of Hell. I think of God. I think of despair. I think of emptiness.
My father, George Christopher Sparks, died on June 13, 2003. He suffered from a massive heart attack and died almost instantly. They call it the “widow maker”. He was only 40. He had been outside mowing the grass. He kept a beautiful yard. It always looked so nice. He worked very hard; too much. He came in the house, in pain, and sat down on the couch. My step-mother, Denise, called 911. He was in so much pain. He was confused, scared. I can’t help but thinking that at the same time my daddy was sitting on that couch, clutching his chest and trying to breath, I was at work laughing and happy. I had no idea at that moment my daddy was dying.
There was nothing the doctors there could do. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. I can picture the over-worked Emergency Room doctor calling out to the code blue staff. “Time of death, 18:52!” he would say. He didn’t know my daddy. He didn’t know the man lying on the stretcher there in front of him. He was gone. All that was left was his body, an empty shell. His soul, everything that made him my daddy was gone. I would never again see his bright smile, warm, green eyes, hear his contagious laugh, kiss his cheek, or give him a hug.
Black is such a mean color. Black can hurt your heart.
My sister, Amanda, was 9 when he died. I was never very close to her. My step-mother thought I was a bad influence. Honestly, I just didn’t fit into my step-mother’s “perfect life”. She just wanted it to be her, my dad and my little sister. When I was around I just messed everything up. Amanda was at a friend’s house when it happened. I am glad she wasn’t there. I know she would have been so frightened and scared. She is now 18. We are working on building a lasting relationship. I want us to have a good relationship and be sisters. I know our daddy would want us to as well. I know she doesn’t remember a lot about him. I wish she did. I wonder if she will ever ask me about him. I think she will one day. My step-mother has done a wonderful job raising Amanda without my dad. Amanda wants to be a teacher. She starts college at Furman this coming fall. I know our daddy would be proud. He would be proud of both of us.
Black can separate.
One of the best and funniest memories I have of my dad is how on Sunday mornings he would go to his stereo system while my sister and I were still sleeping, put in an AC/DC album, turn the stereo volume all the way up, come running into our room, jump onto the bed, and sing as loudly as he could while playing air guitar to wake us up.
One of things that hurts the most is knowing my daddy never got the chance to meet my wonderful husband, Neil. He would have loved him! He never got the chance to meet his grandchildren, Thomas and Brooke. He would have been so proud to be their Papaw George. I know he would have taught Thomas to fish and how to cast a fishing pole. He would have taught Brooke all about football and explained what a first down was. He would have loved them unconditionally and of course he would have spoiled them. They would have loved him, too. I think he would try to be a wonderful grandfather.
Black is loss.
I think about my daddy every day. I think of him when I look in the mirror every morning and see my green eyes. I have exactly the same warm, green eyes he had. When I see a receding hairline, I think of my dad. When I see a father with his daughter, I think of my dad. When I wear the Miami Dolphins jersey my husband got me for my 24th birthday, I think of my dad. When I see a father and daughter out fishing at the lake by my house, I think of my dad. When I hear AC/DC I think of my dad. There are so many things all around me each day that make me remember my dad. Sometimes those things make me laugh and sometimes they make me cry. Even though I only had 16 years with him, I am thankful for each day that I had. Those years were hardly enough. We never had the chance to build a real, close relationship,but I can’t help thinking what it would be like if he were still here today.
Black. Black is the end.