After the divorce I stayed in my home town where I grew up and got a lot of help from my dad and sister. One thing I haven’t made very clear through this story is the love I did have for my dad growing up. Most of what I have said so far has been my feeling after the fact. After finding out everything about him. Although we fought and had a very dysfunctional relationship, we were close. He was my only parent and I loved him. Despite everything I think he loved my daughter, his granddaughter. He was very proud of her. By this time in his life he was much older and in horrible health. On oxygen and had his leg amputated because of diabetes. My sister and I took care of him a lot. Things seemed to be better after I had C and divorced her dad. I won’t lie though, I still had no clue on being a mother, but I did take care of her immediate needs such as feeding her and clothing her and keeping a roof over our head.
She was about 4 years old when my father died. I will never forget that day. He called in the afternoon as soon as I had walked in from work. I was tired and just didn’t want to deal with him at that point. I already knew he was calling me to come over and either cook, clean or help do something. Just like my sister and I did every single day and most of the time it was multiple times a day. It was so overwhelming and exhausting. Although my sister did it for many more years then me. He called and asked if I could come over that he needed help with something. I told him I would be over in a little while. That was the last time I ever spoke to my father. The next phone call was from my uncle a few hours later saying I needed to come over to my dad’s house right away. My sister ended up going over there to take him dinner and found him dead in his bathroom. To this day I feel so much guilt about the decision to ignore him. Would it have made a difference? No. His health was horrible and it was bound to happen. I never told him that I did love him before he died. I know many people will sit here and ask how I could love such a person. Regardless what he was my father. He raised me. I do believe that most of my father’s problems were caused from family history and the abuse that I later found also happened to him throughout his whole childhood. The only difference between us, he couldn’t overcome his past or overcome what happened and I could. After he died I really felt lost. But at the same time I also felt free. This was the beginning of my new life and transformation into the person I am today, but I didn’t know it at the time. It took my father dying for me to take a good look at my life as a person as a mother as a sister and as a friend.
One thing I knew was that I never wanted to turn into what my whole family had become. I wanted better for myself and I wanted better for my daughter. Here I was a single mother with a high school diploma. There were so many decisions to make and I won’t lie, I was scared. I guess when my dad was alive, I always had him to fall back on. If I needed financial help with C or needed help paying bills, I could count on him for that. I was now realizing it was fully my responsibility to take care of my daughter. No lifelines left. I never would want to ask my sister for any kind of financial help. I mean I was the older sister. She was suppose to look up to me not me rely on her. It always happened that she was the responsible sister all along.
I think the first thing that helped change my life to the direction it is now, was a temp job I got. The receptionist was leaving for maternity leave and this oil company needed someone to take over for a few months. I was able to get the job. This job was the first real job I ever had. I always worked from the time I was 16, but it was always fast food, minimum wage paying jobs. A few months went by and the girl came back from maternity leave. There was another opening for accounting and she was offered the job so I was offered a full time position as receptionist. I remember my first quarterly bonus was $500. I couldn’t believe that I worked somewhere that gave not only one bonus a year, but 4! Wow I had insurance and made decent money to take care of C and I. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t going on any vacations, but were able to pay rent and eat. Months went by at work and an opening came available in the land department. I went into the land manager and asked if he would consider me for the position. I told him I had no experience with land, but I could promise him that I would work hard and learn fast. He offered me the job. The company started paying for all my land classes and other math classes etc I needed for the job over the years. Finally I was able to take the test and became a Registered Landman after five years. I finally found a place that I fit into . I love the industry and this job made me feel important. I remember at the time I was making $22,000 a year and thought I was rolling in the dough. After all these years things were finally starting to turn around.