Monday, October 9, 2006

He Did, You Know...

My dad died this week. He was 62. He would have been 63 the day before Halloween.

A few years ago, my dad had something resembling a seizure. Because it was classified as a seizure, my father was forced to retire on disability from his job as a driver for the Town of Brookhaven. With no job to keep him here, he retired to his cabin upstate.

One of his habits was to go out to the kitchen table in the middle of the night, pour himself a drink, and write checks to pay his bills. A few times, he admitted to falling asleep at the table, nodding off quietly.

His brother, my uncle, called me to ask if I had heard from him recently. I said I had spoken to him on Sunday. He had tried to call him a couple of times, and not gotten an answer. He called the police, asking that someone go check on him.

They found him, sitting at his table, drink by his side. He nodded off, and never woke up.

My father was not what many would call a great man; he didn't discover a cure for cancer, he never won a gold medal, he was never elected to office. He was an ill-tempered, hard drinking, stubborn man. But he was better than a great man; he was a good man. He died still loving his ex-wife, who didn't do much to earn it later in their marriage. He died missing his kids, whom he never saw as much as he wanted to. He died loving his grandkids, who barely knew the man because his alcoholism kept him away.

I miss him so much. That last Sunday, we spoke at length. He actually said the phrase "if I died tomorrow, I've lived a good life." And then he did.

I love you, Dad.

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