I found this on this Father’s Day Eve. As a very soon-to-be expecting father, this resonated with me. This is a moment I have been looking forward to myself since we found out the The auteur and I are expecting.
This one is an oldie but a goodie
My father AKA The Old Man died of cancer on February 4, 2015. I spoke at his funeral, but it was completely unscripted and straight from the heart. I could hardly keep it together. This is a long time coming (I’ve had it in my head for nearly three years ) but now I’m finally going to try to give him a proper eulogy:
Good Morning. And it truly is a “good morning”. Sure the weather sucks and we all wish we were together under better circumstances, but it truly is a good morning.
Dad is going home today. He now gets to rest in peace after fighting this horrible disease for the last two-and-a-half-months. He’s going home to see Grandma & Grandpa ****** and all his other family members and friends who went before him.
I have to say, right off the bat, that this Cancer thing is getting very personal to me: This disease tried to take my mother from me: now it has succeeded in taking my Dad. I want to get involved in this fight and I encourage any of you within the sound of my voice to do the same.
What more do I need to say about my Dad than to say that he was the most important male role model in my life? He taught me EVERYTHING I know about being a man: how to treat people, how to talk to them, how to take care of your family and committment to your children.
My dad did gave everything he was to my mom and us kids. He would have given me the proverbial shirt off of his back, and probably did more often than I realize. Let me give you a scenario: let’s say you called my dad to ask him to help move some furniture. He’d tell you he could be there in two hours, but he would show up in an hour and-a-half with a moving truck, two guys to help, refreshments, money to get everyone dinner and a full set of tools – just in case you needed them. He was THAT guy. And for his children? Even more so…
I remember back to 2012 as my then-wife and I had decided to separate and divorce. I was talking to my parents abour me coming home, of course. My plan was to simply pack a car full of as many of my belongings as I could and head up to Michigan. My dad was having none of that. He would not let me go through that alone.
I was moving out on a Saturday. He called me the Tuesday before. He said that he had office hours on Friday but he would hit the road as soon as he got out of the school. We talked a few hours later and that turned into him skipping out of office hours for the day, but he had to teach a Thursday class and he would head down after class. After another phone conversation, that turned into him gettimg a sub for Thursday and getting some sleep before hitting the road Thursday night.
I got a call on Thursday afternoon, I remember being shocked that it was Dad, thinking he was going to sleep before hitting the road after dark. He’s calling me from the road – wind in the background and all – to let me know that he was already in Cincinnatti and that my brother was with him. Typical Dad: coming to help earlier than he promised, with reinforcements and a mini van full of food and supplies. In one of the darkest moments of my life, there was my dad, making sure to catch me before I fell once again.
My then-wife came home from work that afternoon. She asked me what was going – in that ridiculously irrelevant small-talk way that people talk to each otherwhen a relationship has ended. I told her that I talked to Dad and that he was on his way down to help me get my stuff out of the house on Saturday.
She freaked out. “Your dad is coming HERE?” she asked. (Jabba will tell you that she respected my dad, but she was actually afraid of him. She’s never learned the difference between respect and fear, but I digress)
“Well, yeah” I replied.
“Because…that’s what families do for each other.” It seemed like such a stupid questions and that was the only response I could make.
Dad was always the voice of reason. Sometimes he would come across as something of a wet blanket, being so sensible all the time, but Dad was always in the calm eye at the center of every storm. No disrespect to my mom, but Dad was the glue that held everything together. Its not unlike The Old Man in “A Christmas Story” who ultimately gets the Red Ryder BB gun for Ralphie. He seems almost disconnected from the kids; only to swoop in and do something monumental. That was ny Dad.
Dad never had to tell us kids “no”. His version of no was more of a “I don’t think that’s a good idea”. I didn’t notice the until I was a teenager, and didn’t think about what it meant ’till I was older still. Eventually, I realized that I trusted and valued his opnion so much that he didn’t have to tell me “no”. His reservations about something I wanted to do were enough of a red light to keep me from doing it.
Going back even a few years earlier to my wedding day. I was in my parents’ basement getting ready for the big day…and wigging out. Dad was the one who came down and talked me off the proverbial ledge. He reminded me that Jabba and I had been already living together for years and that anything we do that day (i.e getting married) would not change our day-to-day lives one bit. When he said that, it seemed so obvious, but made so much sense that I said “ok” and went to the church.
Walking into his house, or more approrpiately his presence, was like walking into a hug. As his son, I knew he always had my back. With all due to respect to my uncle and his eulogy given by my cousin, whenevever I was talking to or with my Dad, I knew that things were not only going to be okay, but they already in fact were okay.
As a child, I feared my Dad. As young man, I respected him. Now as an adult and a father myself in the hour of his passing, I revere him. I’m not even sure if I even believe in God anymore, but I can assure you that when I look to the heavens at night and pray, I will be praying to him. “My father, who art in Heaven…”
I was a really damn lucky guy to grow up with a father like mine. If I am able to be HALF of the father to my kids that my dad was to me, then they’ll be be just fine.
I love you Dad. I want you to know what I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do on my “list” so far. I did it, and I never would have gotten through any of this without you. I will miss you forever and I look forward to seeing you again someday.
I haven’t written much lately. Frankly, I haven’t had a lot to say. But the other day, I was in a weird funk; something I’ve written about before but has weighed heavily on my mind:
I turned 41 about a-week-and-a-half ago. I lost The Old Man two-and-a-half-months ago. Needless to say, it has me thinking about my own mortality. A LOT lately.
I am The Human Bomb.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I am the World War II era comic book character, or his modern day successor. But like Captain Picard says in “Star Trek: Generations” I’ve come to realize that I most likely have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. And that sucks.
The Old Man was 67 when he died. That means if I live no longer than he did, I have about 26 years left on this Earth. That scares the hell out of me.
I’m not dying or anything. Hell, I’m not even sick. I feel better than I have in a long time. Aside from the time I was working out a couple years ago, I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. The truth is, I feel like I’m just getting started. Divorce is the great reset in 21st century American society and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. i want A LOT more than 26 more years with The Auteur and the family that we’re building together. There’s just so much I still want to do in this world.
I’m reluctant to use the expression “mid-life crisis”. I’m not about to get a sports car. I’m sure as Hell not about to leave my family. But maybe it’s time I start on my Bucket List and crossing things off of it.
This is a somewhat cliched “men have feelings” piece, but I was fascinated to hear that nearly in nearly two-thirds of American divorces, it is the wife who files.
The stat about divorced men being eight times more likely to commit suicide than divorced women is always a little disturbing, but not news to me.
Oh, and for the record, in my case, Jabba said she wanted a divorce first; but I was the one who actually filed for it.
An interesting read. i would have assumed that the heart attack risk for men goes up regardless – simply because more men seem to have heart attacks than women…but this does make sense.
I don’t ever agree with any generalizations and frankly, I don’t agree with the majority of the reasons in this article. The first reason could not be further from the truth in my case. On the contrary, I feel that I actually regained my identity after my separation/divorce. The second reason – about a man’s parental instinct being challenged – is absolutely true. As for the third reason – not being allowed to grieve properly – again is another generalization based on how men are expected to behave or supposed to behave – and did not apply to me.
Opening Day is something like a holiday in Detroit – as I’m sure it is in many, if not most, Major League cities. Over the last 2 decades, it has become something of a tradition in my family as well. Back in 1998 (or was it 99?) My Dad started purchasing a partial season ticket package for the Detroit Tigers.
For the Tigers, as I assume it is with other teams, even the 21 game partial season ticket packages have included tickets to Opening Day. So every year, either The Old Man, Phred, LeRoy, myself – all of us and/or our significant others have attended every Opening Day since. In fact, when I moved Down South during My Previous Life, I told my parents”If I only make it home twice per year, it will be for Christmas and Opening Day”. During my 8 years there, I probably made it home for as many Opening Days as I did Christmases.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, baseball is the great unifier in my family. My brother, sister and I (and to some extent, my father before his passing) don’t have a whole lot in common. We don’t all agree on politics and religion is basically a taboo subject among us. But baseball – Detroit Tiger baseball more specifically – is something we all enjoy. Its one of the few things we all have in common and we all enjoy.
Last year was the last Opening Day my father ever saw. I am happy to no end that I was able to be there with him. I am all-the-happier still that The Auteur was able to be there with me and experience Opening Day. Obviously, tomorrow will have a much different feel. It will be the first Opening Day without The Old Man. It may be the last Opening Day I attend for some time. My siblings and I haven;t discussed whether or not we’ll keep getting season tickets for the Tigers beyond this year. This could be the end of a tradition, in more ways than one.
A confession: I’m not really much of a college basketball fan, but I absolutely LOVE March Madness, or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as it’s more formally known. I love how any division I school has a shot at making “the big dance” if they just win enough games.
I love the Cinderella stories. Give me North Florida, Dayton, Belmont or Hampton. I love the fact that some “Cinderella stories” return year after year until they are acknowledged by the pundits as powerhouse programs like Gonzaga or Butler, or even Villanova was once upon a time.
Even for the experts, who analyze this stuff for a living, the tournament is a crap-shoot. It is a one-game elimination tournament. College basketball only plays two halves, so things can change as quickly as lightning strikes.
And of course, March Madness is the last major sporting even of the winter; and then baseball begins. But I digress…
The last few years I’ve printed off a tournament bracket and tried to pick the winners before the tournament begins. Like millions of others, I usually throw my hands in the air during the first day of the second round, as my bracket lies in ruins.
This year, I decided to actually keep track of my bracket. I didn’t sign up with any online contests like ESPN, or CNN’s; nor did I even follow the “First Four” opening round, focusing instead on the traditional start of the tournament with the pool of 64 teams. Here’s my results so far;
2nd round: 23/32/ 72% Pretty impressive, I think considering I don’t even follow the game much.
3rd round: 9/16. 56% At this point, I’m still ahead of President Obama’s bracket.
4th round 5/8. 62% Woah!
UPDATE 3.29.15: 5th round 2/4. 50%. One side of my bracket is now completely shot. On the other hand, I did successfully predict the elite 8 and final four teams from the regions. Maybe I’ll even try one of those online challenges next year.