dad's vituary

This has been a hard week for me. My dad had a heart attack and his brain went without oxygen for 15 minutes. He is brain dead.

I remember him driving us skiing on Saturday mornings, turning off the heat half way up the hill so we could be come “acclimated to the cold.”

Like most children, I love my father very much. But in the past 12 years we have not gotten along. That is my euphemism which seeks to encompass the actual state of our relationship, or lack thereof. He got a second chance at life all those years ago and for various reasons we stopped talking.

I remember sitting by his bedside holding his hand and praying to God that he would live so my brother Montana would get to know him.

That does not mean that I stopped thinking about him or did not miss his presence in my life. I did. I do. A few years ago a work colleague told me that he did not talk to his dad. I felt so sad for him. And then I realized that I did not talk to my dad either.

I remember him driving me and my best friend to school – our first day of high school –with the windows down and Dire Straights’ “Money for Nothing” playing really loud, to embarrass us.

I look a lot like my dad. He looks like a mixture of William Shatner and Fred Flintstone. Once I realized this I told him. He did not find it as funny as I did. But in telling you this I realize I must bear some resemblance to both of those characters as well, since we share the same features.

I remember navigating on our trip across the country and barely rolling into the fuel station on fumes because I was in charge of calculating how far we could go on one tank of gas, and I miscalculated.

I think like my dad as well. He is a critical thinker, largely self educated, and extremely likeable. I don’t know any person when they first meet him who did not immediately fall under his spell. And he can lie really well. I can do the same, though I have sworn it off for the most part.

I remember the time I opted not to take my last ride on his shoulders, preferring to save that last chance until later. I grew too fast to ever use that last ride.

These are the things I know to be true about my dad: He is deathly afraid of spiders. He does not drink because if gives him really bad headaches. He loves flying and Garfield. He is beloved by many people. He loves pepperoni and green pepper pizza. He cannot suffer fools easily. He loves chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.

I remember he and my mom sewing the ski racing uniforms for my siblings together.

I wondered if the people in his life knew I existed. My photo was no where to be found in his house, save his wallet. I wonder if he told people about me or the kids, my siblings. We are all so successful; John is a pilot married to a great wife; Erica is a mom and a pharmacist; and Montana is a computer scientist also with a great wife. We love each other and support each other and would have given anything to be a complete family again. But please don’t feel that we are not a family, because we are a strong family made up of disparate parts scattered throughout the country.

I remember calling him in college because I could not find my wallet, and he being at his wits end with this eldest daughter and finally explaining to me that he was 2000 miles away and I would have to find the wallet myself.

I regret not having instant messaged with my dad last week when he tried to talk to me. I was busy at work. And I regret not having written his Vituary before he got sick.

I remember waking up to him making us frozen Pepperidge Farms raspberry turnovers on Sunday mornings.

I admire that he lived his life on his terms. He lived out of town because he did not want to be in the city. He decided not to get a pace maker and defibrillator implanted in his chest because he wanted to keep flying gliders. A day before he died he was soaring.

We never finished a conversation without telling each other we loved each other. And I do love him. Very much. And I miss him.

1 comment:

Marian said...

Your writing is a gift, and this is a great gift to your dad. I'm laughing and crying at the same time. I'm sure you and your siblings meant the world to him.