Had my dad not died in 1992, he would today, turn 80 years old. In a way, that’s such a weird thought…Dad at 80. I kinda have an idea of what he’d be like at 80 because those last 6 months or so of his life, as the cancer took over his body. he had gotten much slower moving and much quieter.
I’ll never forget calling him in the hospital when he was so bad (I didn’t know how bad he was and there I was, oblivious, calling him, trying to keep his spirits up) but he answered the phone and I swear, he sounded exactly like his father. It was scary. Like he had channeled the ghost of Pop. It rattled me.
Anyway, thank goodness my main memories of him are not centered around how he was that last year. God has been so good to make those memories harder to recollect. I have to dig down deep to pull up the picture of him sick, in his final days. I’m glad about that.
See, my Dad was such a spitfire of energy and charisma. There was no such thing as "strangers" and he could relate to just about anybody from any walk of life. He had a wickedly wonderful sense of humor and loved to tell and hear a good story. Being a radio guy, he was pretty chatty and he did have the most lovely speaking voice. I love the fact that #1 Son inherited the deep voice.
I always feel bad for people who tell of having fathers who were distant, uninterested, undemonstrative, not affectionate with them in any way, never told by their fathers that they were proud of them or that they loved them. Now that I’m older, I understand and see how Dad was pretty unusual for his generation of men who didn’t show emotions or their true feelings. To this day, my father is just about the only man I’ve ever known who would open show emotions when something touched him. I must admit though, at times it was embarrassing when he did that. Interestingly enough, now at my ripe old age, everything chokes me up. It’s not as obvious with me as it was him.
He wasn’t a perfect father or man, but, he was very genuine and sincere with everything he did. Everything was either black or white with him. He was pretty opinionated and as charming as he was, you did not want to anger him. That was not pretty. Whenever he gritted his teeth while addressing you over an issue, you knew he was serious.
This will sound weird and I hope nobody takes it in a weird way, but, I was telling Web of Webslog the other day (who lost his father 6 months ago and his family is now facing the dreaded first holiday season without him) that you grow in such a way when you lose a parent that you can’t grow without going through that. It’s hard to explain, but, those who have lost a parent will know what I mean.
I’m sure if he were alive today to celebrate 80, we would’ve surely had a big party. I’m going to imagine that scenario today in my mind. I couldn’t help but think this last couple days how he would have enjoyed having all 5 of his grandchildren around him. He only lived to see one grandchild and that was only for 6 weeks. I know he’d have gotten a large kick out of them, as they would have him.
One thing that time does do, in regards to losing a parent, for me anyway, Dad has turned into a lovely memory. The stinging pain of him not being here anymore is not what it was, although he’s missed everyday. Recollections of him today usually involve something funny he said or did or me looking in the mirror or hearing myself say something that could’ve come straight from the mouth of the Biffer.
I feel very fortunate to have had him as a dad. I could’ve stood to have him a few more years. I would love to have a conversation with him now, at the age I am now. We had good conversations then. I’m sure he would be loaded with unsolicited parental advice and wisdom to impart (he was good at that).