It’s been forty-six years and I still have no clue who you were. I have listened to all the distorted stories that my Mom told me and I never could understand why she married you and had a child (and then two more). Forty-six years of hanging on every word shared about you, every mention of your name, every bit of you they all cared to share or mention in passing, and all I have to sum you up is two separate but very different words... “Smart” and “Crazy”... nothing like crazy-smart!
Hey, Dad! It’s Father’s Day 2018
I am sitting at one of your granddaughter’s water polo games and I am typing this on my phone. I came today to be a part of my daughter’s passion. She loves this sport and it brings me great pleasure to share this day and these moments with her. You never knew anything like this and I am sorry you didn’t. I drove here with my oldest daughter and we talked about the causes of addiction and that her college is working on a clinical trial study for a drug that interrupts the receptors in the brain relating to addiction. I thought about both of us and how we could have made use of it in our lives, but we had to find our own ways with those things.
Hey! “Your daddy loves you!”
I just yelled out “Your daddy loves you!” after my daughter scored a goal and it got a laugh from the other parents, I would have loved to hear that from you. Maybe you said it at some point? I was certainly too young to remember much of anything. I would love to have remembered more about you and not rely on the distorted stories and tales of those who knew you, I would have enjoyed knowing what you sounded like, your mannerisms etc. I wonder if you sounded like me, or my brother, or maybe a combination of both of us? I know you played the guitar and sadly, I never learned, but my brother did... Maybe you sounded more like him.
Your death certificate lists your cause of death as “alcoholic hepatitis” and it must have been painful, but I am sure you found other ways to manage that pain too. I must have been 12 or 13 years old when my mother told me you had died. At the time, I assumed it was heroin or some other harder drugs, but the L.A. Coroner certainly knows better than my imagination could ever consider. As I sit here with 1395 days sober (But who's counting!), I certainly understand a little about your journey and the desire to escape from yourself and all of us. I also understand the need to keep it as discreet as possible. I don't blame you, but, I wish you could have waited a few more years so that I could have told you that in person.
Hey, Dad! I mean, Elvis?!
I wrote about my mom on Mother's Day and that we shared the music of Elvis, I loved Elvis when I was little and it never occurred to me why I loved him so much until someone I was talking to recently pointed it out! Having very little backstory, she said; “Elvis was your father!” And I immediately understood what she meant. I replaced you with Elvis. Everyone that I loved, loved Elvis, including my mom. Everyone cried when Elvis died, including my stepfather. So, not having you in my life, I found a replacement. And if I was going to fantasize about having a dad, it might as well be THE KING himself!
As I drive my girls back home, I can’t help but think of you, can’t help but think of the line I wrote about you in a poem when I was sixteen years old; “Where did his trust lay, where did his mind stray, did he die without shoes?” - I often wondered what your last days were like and if there was anyone around for you. I wondered if you were aware of what you were leaving behind or if you even thought about it at all. Wondered if you thought about us kids or my mom in those final moments...? Wondered if you grabbed your guitar and got up on a restaurant table, serenaded a young waitress while you shook your pelvis all over the place!!! Yea, I am pretty sure you did.