My Dad is being buried today. He took his last breath at about 8:30pm October 13th, 2013. He was 85. He would have been 86 on November 7th. He was diagnosed in early September with lung and liver cancer. He had had other cancers three times in his life and had beaten them without chemo. He decided against chemo this time also. I think he figured that at 85 chemo would really diminish his quality of life. I am sure he was right. As much as it pains our family, fortunately for him his battle with cancer this time was relatively and mercifully short. He didn’t have alot of pain and I believe he passed in relative comfort.
He was of the World War 2 generation. He was a supply sergeant in the Army. He spent two years in the Philippine Islands in the South Pacific. After that, he came home and spent a couple of years hopscotching around the country doing odd jobs with a friend named Doc in a brand new Ford Coupe that my Dad had bought with money he had saved up in the Army. The late 1940’s was a time in America when a couple of young men could do that. My dad told me that he and Doc would stop in a town or city and find whatever odd jobs they could. When they had gotten together $50 between them they would take off for yet another town and another adventure. When I was a child my dad told me and my siblings many stories from this part of his life. Some of them were somewhat harrowing. They were all funny in some way. They were all very interesting to us no matter how many times he told them. We requested that he repeat them many, many times…and he always obliged.
Between 1948 and 1955 I don’t know a whole lot about my dad’s life. I know that when he met my mom in 1955 they were both working for an aircraft manufacturer in St. Louis, MO.
My mom and dad were married in February of 1956. He was 28 and she was 18. My brother Steve came along in August of that year. Over the next 10 years 3 more boys and 1 girl would be born to them.
He was an extraordinary man by all accounts. He was a good Christian man. He had more grace for others than anyone else I have ever known. He was a wonderful and gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter.
Why am I telling you all of this? First and foremost as a form of self-therapy and healing. Second, I am hoping that this blog will help others that are dealing with crisis and grief in their lives. Third, because my life has been in many ways like his and in just as many ways not. And last but certainly not least, I want to untie as many of the “not’s” as I can and be much more like him.
The death of my dad is really making me examine my life. Life is short and not for the faint of heart. It seems there is so much to do and so little time to do it.
POP, I LOVE YOU. I ALWAYS HAVE AND I ALWAYS WILL. REST IN PEACE. I KNOW YOU ARE.