I had some very mixed emotions going into Father’s Day 2015. This was my first Father’s Day without The Old Man. This Father’s Day would also be one which I would be spending without The Kid – for reasons which I’m not really inclined to discuss here yet. This is also a Father’s Day of great anticipation: within the next few weeks – if not days, The New Guy will be here.
I didn’t feel much like a Dad this year for Father’s Day; nor did I feel like much of a son. There were a few gaping holes in the day.
Don’t get me wrong. The Auteur and I went out to eat Friday night. She made a great breakfast Sunday morning. Then we tag-teamed on dinner for her day Sunday afternoon. To cap off the day, her and 1B got me some nice gifts; but in those moments when I was alone, all I could think about were my Dad and my son.
Two years ago was the last time I got to spend a Father’s Day with both of them. I knew then how fortunate I was. I had no idea that what a “first father’s day without my dad” would feel like; but clearly I knew it would come sooner rather than later.
As much as not having The Old Man here, not being with The Kid is consuming me. All I’m willing to disclose right now is this: I’m working on it. Jabba and I have had no communication for nearly 3 months and that is no accident. We are not co-parenting and that is a situation I am working to recitfy.
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.
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.
This is something that a fellow blogger whom I follow wrote. I thought it was especially relevant to me, given what’s going on – both with my relationship with The Kid and the recent passing of The Old Man.
I didn’t feel “the hole” with The Old Man; rather, I want to be sure that The Kid never feels it with me.
THE FOLLOWING POST WAS WRITTEN 1.14.15
The Old Man had another surgery yesterday. The cancer has spread. The tumor in his shoulder has gotten bigger. There were also tumors in his femurs, which he had replaced with titanium rods yesterday.
I learned more about bone cancer through my dog, Worf, than I ever hoped to need to know. Phred told me Sunday that if the Old Man didn’t get the surgery, there was a good chance that he could have broken both his femurs – had he tried to walk.
This is getting very personal – this cancer thing and me. This disease tried to take my mom from me. Now it’s going after my dad and it looks like it’s going to get the job done. But not without one hell of a fight from The Old Man…
I want the Old Man to come home again. I want him to meet my unborn child. I want to take him to one more Tiger game. I want The Kid to be able to see him again. He is too young to lose both grandfathers.
One More Day
When staring in the face if death, I think its normal to think of these things. I can only imagine what’s going through The Old man’s mind during all of this.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this stuff lately. This felt kind of timely, with the new year approaching…
Coming to the hospital, it hit me – hard.
I’m going to lose my father. Probably sooner rather than later.
It’s been all but confirmed: he has cancer in his liver, his lung, his pancreas and on his bones. I’m assuming we’ll get an official confirmation in about 8 1/2 hours when we meet with his doctors.
I’m not ready to lose him, but I can’t stand seeing him in this kind of pain. The drugs he’s on are making him speak in non-sense; see things that aren’t there. Now, he’s talking about things from when he was a kid. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that it had spread to his brain; or that maybe he has Alzheimer’s.
The son becomes that father and the father becomes the son.
In the last two weeks, I have watched him transform in sickly, old man. It’s a pretty surreal transformation to witness when there’s still the spirit of a five-year-old within you who is convinced that your Dad is the strongest person in the world.
I’m spending the night in the hospital room with him. The overnight nurse suggested that someone stay – partially because of the way the drugs affect him; and partially because of his overall condition. As eerie as this vigil feels, I have the feeling I may be very glad I agreed to stay with him tonight.
I saw this the other day and felt like sharing it. While I may not agree with one hundred percent of everything written herein – particularly the “only you can fuck it up” – it does a pretty good job of summing up most of my feelings on love and relationships, particularly from the male point of view…
The first time I ever heard of Mitch Albom, was when he was just a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press. Although I think he has tried to branch out a bit much over couple decades, I absolutely loved Tuesdays with Morrie. In fact, it’s the first novel that I taught as a student teacher.
I think he raises some great points in this piece. The furthering of certain agendas – including but not limited to those of lesbian couples and single mothers – has not only pushed their respective agendas, but also diminished the role of men and fathers in our society as well. I don’t think it was through any malice; it’s just the way the cultural pendulum shifts after the status quo in one particular extreme for do many years.
A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:
This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.
It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected. He’s had health issues for some time. I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her. After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.
Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times. Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.
As I always tend to do when someone I know dies, Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality: mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids. Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires. I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life. Something, a lot of things, need to change.
I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this. He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard. This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with. Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split. That’s got to affect him more than we realize. Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that. The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time. I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow. Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.
The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan. The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday. Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday. We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse. It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now. I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders. I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible. I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste. Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad. I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.
I miss him more than I realized. I miss doing everyday stuff with him: playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends. I have to find a way to visit with him this summer. I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen. The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life. I have to change that. I have to force that change if necessary.
There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”. That’s some food for thought today. We’re watching a clip from “America: The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.
Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”