I’m an orphan now, I guess… my dad passed away sometime Friday night. He hadn’t been doing well… a mild stroke a couple of months ago, and an aeortic aneurism that needed surgical attention, scheduled for next month. I didn’t think he would make it through the surgery, but he didn’t make it to the surgery.
I just talked to him Thursday evening. I’m glad I called him back. Sometimes I didn’t, at least not for a few days… and I had just talked to him on Sunday when we had a good hour long conversation. He knew I wanted to pursue a story idea that involves attending the Barbie Collectors convention in Los Angeles in July. He thought it sounded like a great idea. And he wanted to help me out. He called on Thursday to tell me he wanted to send me a check. He was always good at sending money. I told him it would be appreciated, but certainly not needed, that I was fine, financially, and that he should save his money to take care of himself, especially if he needed help after the surgery.
He wasn’t a part of my daily life. He lived on the East coast still and I live out here in San Diego area. I could have made more of an effort. He could have too. It made me angry that he didn’t take better care of himself, that he was somewhat of a mess, that he didn’t always take care of stuff that needed taking care of. But he was my dad. The only one I had. And I really loved him a lot.
He was fun too; we had some good times together. Like me he wasn’t the loud life of the party, but he liked to observe as part of the group, but close to the sidelines. He didn’t tell big jokes like granddad (his dad) but he had a quick wit. He was sharp and smart and knew a lot about a lot of things.
The picture above is from one summer ages ago, when I was in college. I lived in D.C. and worked at the Fish and Wildlife Service, an office job through the Summer Youth Employment Program. Dad and I spent a lot time together. We commuted to the city together, and even hit the occassional happy hour all you can eat roast beef buffets.
I last saw him around my birthday in August of last year. We talked once a week or so. I am missing him a lot more than I thought I would.
The last thing I said to him was “I love you.” I hope he knows I meant it. Because even though having a relationship with him was difficult, I did love him. He did the best he could. I did the best I could. I’m still doing the best I can… I hope its enough.