Four years ago today, my Dad passed away after a valiant yearlong-or-so battle with metatastic (not-fantastic) Stage-4 cancer that had started in the fluid of the lining of his lungs and then had spread to his bones, his blood, everywhere. Cool. Cancer is way cool.
Though his body atrophied and, at the end, he was frail as a bird, he had an inner strength that I admire to this day. He was damned stoic about his imminent death; the strong silent type.
I miss him.
Sometimes I wonder what he would think about the direction my life took. The way I let booze bust up my existentialism, the way sometimes I just feel like giving up. But I have a streak of stoicism in me, too. Or, at least, bullheadedness and faith. And hope. I think without faith and hope, a human being doesn't have much reason to draw his or her next breath. I, perhaps foolishly, believe that every day is a clean slate. That is a good attribute to have. The trick is believing that axiom.
And I force myself, sometimes, to just believe. What could it hurt?
I miss him. I miss my adult years of seeing him as more than a father, but also as a man, a man who was strong and selflessly provided well for his family and was a responsible hard worker which allowed him to trot the globe after his retirement. I was over at my mom's house today--she's another strong soul--and she had gone through some cards and whatnots of celebrations and parties and shit for my dad. It was kind of a trip down Memory Lane.
I remember him not ever really wanting to play Trivial Pursuit, pretty much a B_____ family tradition at get-togethers, electing instead to read a book and do his throat-clearings and his harrumphs. He was always clearing his throat, something I find myself doing quite often, as well. The apple doesn't fall that far from the tree, they say. I'm not sure. I guess I never knew him well enough.
Which sucks. But that happens, sometimes.
The summer before he died (none of this "passed away" or "passed on" bullshit for me; he died) we kids and he went on a trip to Pennsylvania, the homestate of his kin. I can't be sure, but it seemed like he was in constant pain, though it would have taken a crowbar to pry that information out of him. We visited relatives and saw old family haunts and farms and workplaces and I am pretty sure that it gave him some sense of closure. It was well-timed, because in Spetember his health really began to hit the skids and by the beginning of November, 2008, he was dead.
It always angered me that he died just two days before the election of the first black President of the United States, because, A, he despised Cowboy Bush, and B, sfter his retirement as an executive at a Major Three car company, he was a hard-core Democratic volunteer. He'd had loved it. Maybe he's looking down, now, two days before a tighter-than-tight Presidential election, and rolling his dice in the Dem's favor.
Whatever. I miss him.
But I feel his presence sometimes, too, and it seems to me that he is looking down--or through or into or whatever--and lettin' loose with a few of his two cents. That works for me. I love you, Dad. Peace and love, man.