I will say this upfront. This is not a depressing post. Or what I should say is that, depression is not the place the post comes from.
It comes from my heart. Today would have been my fathers 59th birthday. To think that he has been gone for over 17 years is unbelievable. The pain of losing him still stings now and then. The now’s are further apart but they do still happen.
I am not sure if I have written about my father’s death here. It was a significant event in my life of course so I am sure it has come up. He died just over a year after my diagnosis.
Instead of giving you account of the awful night I heard the news and the days following that were devastating, I would much rather tell you about how amazing he was and how amazing God works in our lives.
My dad was funny. And I mean, twisted funny. He was the guy who asked small kids, “Is Mickey Mouse a dog or a cat?” as a joke to himself. He once had me make him an entire cassette that played “Can’t Touch This” over and over. On both sides! So he could listen to it again and again. One time he dressed up this little kid in my Charlie McCarthy dolls clothes, sat him on his lap and told him to open his mouth when he squeezed the back of his neck. He said he was going to have the first REAL ventriloquist act. He also told all of us that he was going to change his name to R.R. since L.L Cool J was so hip.
He was bizarre, smart, funny, affectionate, strong, kind, encouraging, and what his fellow Sheriff’s referred to as “a good ol’ boy!” We were not allowed to greet him or leave without giving him a hug and a kiss. And none of us ever disagreed.
My father cried only twice that I know of. Once when his mother died. He picked us up early in the morning after we found out and he said simply, “your grandma was a great woman.” And wept. That was the first death in our family that I remember and it was a difficult one since I was my grandma’s only grandson and we were close.
The other time I didn’t actually witness it but I heard it. It was the day after my diagnosis. October 3rd 1990. My dad was out of town on training and I called him the next night to talk to him. I don’t remember all that was said but what I do remember is him saying, “I’ll see you soon. I love you” through tears at the end of our conversation. I could hear the fear in his voice. The concern about what this meant for my future. I cried for a long time after I hung up. I understood a little better that the road ahead was going to be long and tough.
My mother and father did not get along. I do not remember them ever speaking to one another after their divorce. Most messages between the two of them were sent via us kids. Not a very cool way to communicate but my guess is, most children of divorce have been there before.
One night my father called the house looking for me and my mom answered. She told him I was gone and could call him back later. He asked her how I was doing and she told him. In fact, they ended up talking for over an hour. My mother said that it was best conversation she has had with him since they were married. They talked about all 4 of us kids. How proud they both were of us. How much fun they used to have together and even reminisced back to days when they were dating and funny things that happened. My mom can’t talk about this conversation without crying. She said it was awesome and made all those years of being angry seem so ridiculous. That made her night and his too.
That conversation happened the night before he died.
I am still so thankful that this conversation happened. It has made those awful years when my parents were not speaking seem like they didn’t exist.
Anyhow, give your dad a kiss and an extra long hug the next time you see him. I know I will when I see mine again one day.