December 13, 2011
I waited at the top of the stairs as he closed the front door.
Halfway up, I handed over the card I bought him.
“Thanks,” he said.
He didn’t need to open it to know what it was.
Bowling was always his thing.
“Now I can die a happy man,” he said.
The brutal honesty that comes with acceptance is enough to paralyze most people.
Three months into treatment and six months before the end, with Antimetabolites, Alkylating agents, Topoisomerase inhibitors and Anthracyclines pumping through his veins, my father bowled a perfect game.
These miracles grace us in tiny, temporary doses. And I’ll never need another.
Part 1: Strength
December 3, 2010
December is my father's birthday month. Unless my math is wrong, which is highly likely, if he were still alive he'd be turning 64.
I've always wanted to write something about him. A book, perhaps. But not necessarily in traditional book form.
After nine years of pondering it, experimenting, being afraid, busy, and insecure—as well as dealing with the evolution of the Internet as we currently know it—I think I have the concept down.
This is the first bit of many bits. But not necessarily the bit that the book will open up with.
It's nice to sit down and write for myself for once. It's nice to sit down and devote concentrated chunks of time to thinking only about my father. Not that I don't think about him every day anyway.
This is the beginning of a new project for me. And it's a work in progress. It's for you too. And it's for anyone who has lost someone or watched someone they love wither away from cancer or any other horrible disease, right in front of their own eyes.
Some of you won't relate just yet, but it'll come one day. Brace yourself. It's a wild ride.
I named it "Had a Dad." Sorry for the long intro, I did it so won't need to say it all again on future pieces. Thank you for reading.
He knelt in the dirt. I stood beside him. His bald spot was yellow. Beaded with sweat.
“Can you give this a try?” He said as he dropped his trowel. “It’s in there pretty good.”
Standing, I leant down and grabbed the shrub tightly with both hands, about to give it all I had, when it cracked and uprooted.
Dead and dry and without a fight.
We didn’t even look at one another.
“Thanks,” he said. “I must be getting weaker.”
“Nah. I’m standing. More leverage.” I told him.
For 25 years I never beat him in a foot race, checkers, bowling or an arm wrestle.
I always wished I was stronger than my father until the moment I realized I was stronger than my father.
I kept my mouth shut, walked the roots to the trash and tried not to think about jaundice.