My father is dying.
There, I finally wrote it down. My father currently lies in a hospice bed 90 minutes away from me, rapidly deteriorating from advanced cancer. After being sent home from the hospital numerous times with the doctors throwing their hands up in the air and claiming ignorance as to why he was sick, they finally diagnosed him with cancer, and then said “sorry, it’s too late to do anything now. If only we had known…” There are so many things that can be written regarding the piss-poor care my father received through the Veterans Administration, but that is for another day. What’s done is done.
What I will write about is how my father, who is schizophrenic along with other issues, always did what he could for me, never turning his back on me when I needed help. Was he the best father? No. But was I the best son? Absolutely not; however, when my mother and stepfather kicked me out of their house for a crime I did not commit (long story) at the age of 17, he unequivocally took me in without restrictions. I learned some independence from my father, along with some valuable lessons.
When I came home from school one day shortly after I moved in with him to find a box on the porch filled with the rest of my things, all smashed up and ruined, my father taught me to not let anger consume me and to remember that one should never be surprised by a person’s actions towards them. When my computer was returned to me with the cord slashed and the monitor smashed, he just let me use his anytime I wanted to with no complaints, and that was back when my life was consumed by Earl Weaver baseball and AOL chatrooms, so I wanted that computer incessantly. Of course, I still struggle with these issues even today but he was really the first person in my life who truly led by example, wordlessly. Was he upset that I was treated that way by my mother? Yes, but he never spoke a word against her in my presence, not even then. I gleaned a lot from that man through his actions more so than his words.
I learned that music is to be listened to by your whole being. You sit your ass down and you take it all in and you really think about what it is saying to you. He taught me how to let the music take you to a different world. All those days and nights of watching him sit in his chair and listen to his records either out loud or with headphones on and seeing his far-off look told me all I needed to know. Perhaps this does not make sense to anyone but me, but that does not matter, really.
This is the first time I have really put my thoughts of this man into words, either spoken or written. I should have spoken these things to him sooner when he was more lucid, but how was I to know that our time would be cut short? Now I have learned another lesson.