I got a feeling this is going to be the longest blog post ever, so feel free to skip it or come back later for some juicy video game clips or something lighter than me talking about my dead Father. It's so surreal, I mean, I was there when he passed away, I watched him die, but it just hasn't sunk in yet. Even as Molly and I are working on a slideshow for his funeral, I can't seem to comprehend the fact that I'll never see him again.
I'm not going to lie and act like me and my Dad were best friends. In fact, we butted heads more often then not. But we still loved each other. I was just more in line with my Mother than my Father. He was always into going hunting, working on cars, country music, watching old Westerns and War movies...stuff that my Brother would soak up like a sponge, I was never really interested in. I, like my Mom, enjoyed arts and crafts, rock music, and Disney cartoons. My Dad went to Vietnam, my Mom went to peace rallies. My Mom wore her emotions on her sleeve, my Dad folded his up and hid them in his back pocket.
He had a horrible relationship with his Father and I think it reflected on the way he was with us. His Dad left his Mother when he was very young. His Father was an alcoholic and developed Liver problems. While on his death bed, my Father refused to go see him, explaining that he "wasn't a Father to me." That's some cold shit. So, he grew up rough, not expecting shit from anyone and not easily letting people get beneath his thick skin.
But he also had a wicked sense of humor. A very dark, sarcastic, pull-no-punches demeanor. He would ask me and my Brother if we wanted to "go visit our real parents" as we would drive home from dinner. Or if we "wanted to go get a new Mama." We would always cry out, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" And he would just smirk.
"C'mon, let's go get a Redhead Mama!"
"No, Dada!!! We love OUR Mama!!!"
I do that to my son now...only he goes, "Okay! Bye Mama!" The joke doesn't work if he's willing to toss Molly under the bus...
He used to work for the railroad and be gone for 3 days at a time. I'd always be asked to be "The MAN of the house" when he left. I wore that with pride. One night, it was just my Mom, me and my Brother and there was a knock at the door. I go look through the window and there's a monster looking at me! Giant yellow eyes and big sharp teeth! I run screaming into the bathroom where my Mom was taking a bath...
"MOM!!! THERE'S SOMEONE AT THE DOOR!!! IT'S A MONSTER AND IT'S COMING TO GET US!!!"
My Mom jumped out of the tub so fast, not even bothering to grab a towel! There, in the doorway stod my Father, laughing and holding a Halloween mask. My Mom was so mad at him. I'm telling you, the man enjoyed scaring the living snot out of us.
He'd take us to the Drive-In and always say that the movie we were supposed to see was broken and that they were going to show Gremlins instead. (To this day, that movie gets to me...fucking PG my ass!!!) Or leave for the restroom and then sneak up on the side of the truck and scare us senseless...it's amazing that I survived.
When my Mom first battled Cancer, we felt like she was going to die right then and there. But after three years, losing both of her breasts, and dealing with all the effects of chemo, she seemed to have beaten it. That's when the tumor in her brain showed up and changed everything. She lost the ability to walk, to dress herself, to go to the restroom...my Dad took care of all of that for her. We had a hot tub in the backyard and he built a ramp and deck for her to be able to ride her scooter right up next to it. Seriously, you could've landed a jumbo jet on this deck...he loved her so much.
After she died, he turned to drinking. He'd always enjoyed beer and getting tipsy, but being all alone and depressed took it's toll. So, when he decided to start dating a few months after my Mom had passed, my Brother and I were actually relieved. I'm sure my Mother and him had talked about "moving on" while she was sick. Although some in the family felt like he was dating "too soon," both Kelly and I felt like it was getting him out of the house and away from just drinking himself silly.
He ended up getting re-married to Marilyn, who's family owned a Harley Davidson dealership (where I'm typing this from right now...hold on, I need to sell some ass-less chaps real quick...)
Marilyn's daughter had two children and My Dad became a Papa! He cherished every moment of it. The thick skin, the tough love faded somewhat and he--dare I say it--actually SPOILED them!!!
When he developed a brain tumor over two years ago, we felt like we'd lose him pretty soon. But with the advancements in medicine, he survived! Never lost his hair, never really got sick...it was amazing. But then, an MRI showed four new tumors, in areas of the brain where no Cancer had been before. Even though he had surgery to remove two of them, I felt like this was it...the other shoe had fallen.
He slowly got worse and worse and within the last couple of weeks completely loss everything. Couldn't form sentences, didn't really know who people were...it was awful seeing him like that.
And so, even though there's a pain deep in my gut, I know that it's better this way. He couldn't have gotten better...the tumors just continued to grow larger and effect more of his motor skills. The only thing we could have hoped for was for him to not be in any pain, and to pass away at home with his family surrounding him. And that happened. So you just tell yourself that it's okay. People die, life goes on and you enjoy every single day you have left.
I just want to end this by saying thank you all. I know it's tough because you're thinking, "Fuck...what do I say to this poor bastard?!" But it's okay. I'm okay and Molly and Lex are keeping me in good spirits. I appreciate all the kind emails and phonecalls. You mean the world to me, whether we see each other once a month, once a year, or have never even met face to face. Friends and family are what this life is all about. I'm lucky to have met so many awesome people over 27 lil' years on this Earth.