Monday, January 10, 2011

Whiteout Vs. 30 Days Of Night

* = All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

So for those that don’t know ‘Big Love’, my father died 12/31/10. The big guy had been sick for a while. He had a litany of degenerative physical health issues, debilitating chronic Manic Depression, as well as a ton of “off & on” health concerns. In the last five or six years, well since his unfortunate divorce, I had the opportunity to know my father in a different way. When the divorce happened he managed to alienate himself from most friends, some family, and even his children. I’m not sure if it’s just because of the field I choose to make my living in or what but I was just not one to be put off by his illness, his attitude, or his subsequent behaviors. That isn’t to say things were always rosy between us, they weren’t, but I began to start a friendship with my father.

In my youth I worshipped my father, tried to emulate him, and of course as a child failed. In my teens I, like every other teen, rebelled. I felt that everything I was being told was wrong or a ‘lie’. I was bound and determined to do the opposite of what I thought was being forced upon me. As I got older, more experienced, and lived through some tragedy and gained some perspective I found that the things both of my parents had tried to impart to me was correct. It’s weird to understand just HOW wrong you were about, well everything.

So in tragedy we were able to forge a new relationship. In the confines of that relationship I got to know a man stripped of the myth I had enforced upon him. He no longer sat on a pedestal instead he sat across a table from me. In that context the jokes were funnier, the tales had more resonance, and the sadness was much more pungent, I got to know the person.

I’m frighteningly like my father. I’m brash, hard to like, loud, engaging, smart, funny, but I’m also prone to melancholy, anger, frustration, and an unbridled ability to hold a grudge. It’s frightening to watch someone you love fall into the throes of sadness beyond reckoning. Depression as an illness is a trap that even the best and brightest of cannot ‘think’ their way out of. It’s an emotional quagmire that eventually let’s the sufferers decimate everything around them in some death throe of anxiety, neurosis, fear, and a myriad of other issues. Watching someone go through depression is well depressing. My father’s depression damn near killed my mom, it made a reluctant adversary out of my sister, and left his relationship with my brother fractured. For some weird reason I was fine to just be witness to this all. Maybe because somewhere deep inside I still want to be my dad, warts and all.

Sometimes he was irrational, desperate, and incoherent during those times I just went into ‘work mode’ and dealt with him like I would anyone with mental illness I work or have worked with. I was just able to turn off the part of me that saw him as anything other than a person in need. Other times he was ‘on’, laughing, joking, ‘preaching’, and generally imparting knowledge. He was a deeply flawed person, but I think a good man.

I was amazed to see all the folks who came out at the ‘Remembrance’ that my mother so graciously held at her home. My sister, my wife, my aunt, my cousin, and my mother made it into something truly wondrous. I was given the opportunity to write the eulogy. It took me only moments to write and I felt exhausted upon its completion. Words will never really bring to light how I feel nor will they ever really do anything more than cast a pale shadow upon just who someone was.

But I digress.

The cast of characters who rolled through to share their grief, to express their condolences, and etc. was awe inspiring. I had a lot of preconceived feelings and notions about how I would feel towards some of these folks, but I was lucky enough to have my mom drop some knowledge on me first. She reminded me that those people had at one time been friends with my father, in another time in another place in another life. I was reminded to respect that. I did and in doing so was really touched by it.

This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my life. It has broken my heart. I don’t say that lightly. I have known what I thought was heartache before, I have felt unnamable sorrow, but nothing has touched the bitter emptiness that I feel right now. I’m tired, I can't really sleep, my appetite has been sapped, and I just can’t even muster the strength to even be apathetic about anything currently.

This also has me flummoxed. I’m at some sort of existential Crisis On Earth 2. Where did my father’s soul go when he died? He was developing his own religion; does that mean God wouldn’t let him into ‘da club’? Will his memory eventually just fade into some amalgamation of good and bad? Is there a way to hold onto the essence of who he was? Why do I do anything? Why do I keep trying to help people who are mentally ill, when the one person who meant so much to me was beyond my ability to help? Is any of this worth it?

I know this too shall pass. With time comes perspective, time heals all wounds, the pain of today becomes the promise of tomorrow, all those things are true. Just don’t ask me to be ok with it right now, because I’m really not.

Usually in the blog I’d drop some RANDOM CRAP on you. Instead I just want to write some THANK YOU’s.

- Cassandra, thank you for being a ROCK, for dealing with me in a time when I wouldn’t want to be you for all the tea in China. I love you.
- Dave & Liz, thank you for being there. Thank you for trying to add some normalcy to what is not normal.
- Mary, Christina, & Mason, thank you. Thank you for making that night at bearable.
- Mom, thank you. Thank you for listening, thank you for understanding, thank you for not being afraid to share your grief, your tales, your side, and your love.
- Sarah, thank you. Thank you for being an organizational mastermind. Thank you for delegating and holding it together in the face of the loss, but really thank you for being my sister.
- Sean, Kelci, & Lucas, thank you. Thank you for taking what is terrible and making the most of it. Sean, your relentless effort towards just getting what had to be done actually done allowed me to put some of my grief away until a better time. Kelci thank you for giving him the time and space to do it. Lucas, thank you for being just as entertaining as your father was at that age.
- Anthony, thank you. Thank you for calling. If anyone knows the pain of this it’s you, and you calling me meant the world. Even though we aren’t related by blood you will always be my brother.
- Buck, thank you. You and I haven’t seen eye to eye on a lot for a long while, but thank you man. My dad loved you like a son, and would have been truly touched to know the distance you came to be there for him.
- Grandma, thank you. In essence I have three moms; my Mom, my Mom-In-Law, and my Grandma. You are always an example on how to handle yourself, how to grieve, and a bastion of serenity in a storm of uncertainty.
- Uncle Beer, thank you. Even though I wanted to strangle you constantly I know how you felt. He was your brother and he can’t be replaced. I love you Bill, but not in a ‘prison way’.
- Susan, Samantha, & Bud, thank you. I know that he wasn’t your family anymore, but you never would have known it by the outpouring of effort, emotion, and just everything else you gave.
- Carla & Lee, thank you. Whether you know it or not Carla my dad thought the world of you. The Christmas card you guys sent out was on his desk when he died. My family and I can never thank you enough for the card you sent.
- Mom & Dad-In-Law, thank you. Without you going down would have been almost fiscally impossible. Debbie just the offer to go down help is just beyond words. I love you guys.
- Mighty Mike, thank you. I know that this isn’t the best time for you in life, but you made time for a friend. It just proves again how solid a guy you truly are.
- Joe K., thank you. You know if you wouldn’t have been there when you were Friday I’m not sure I could have held it together as long as I did. I don’t think I can ever repay you for that.
- Brian, thank you. Thank you to you, your mom, and your dad. It’s funny how you’re the only person I know who can say so much by saying so little.
- Heidi, thank you. Just thank you for being my friend.
- Ricky, thank you. You were always a good friend to me, and a great friend to my brother. Thank you for being there, for basically acting like family would act. He wouldn’t have wanted those vinyls’s to go to anyone else.
- Bradley “Pita Brady”, thank you. You’ll never know just how much it meant to my family for you to call them. You are right he was my dad, but he was your friend, and he relished every damn moment of it.
- Ryan, Justin, Dr. Matt, & Larry, thank you. Just when you think you might be alone in the wilderness of Iola old faces come out of the woodwork. The out pouring of emotion, the jokes, just you guys made what was a miserable night something I could survive. I owe you all a debt I’m not sure I can ever repay.
- Duke, Rolson, Grace, Woody, Jimmy John, J.B., Steve, Anne, Jesse, Chris, Brandon, Char, and anyone else I might have missed who wrote, called, or made it to the ‘Remembrance’, thank you. It’s nice to know that there is good in the world, good people who care. I really appreciate it.
- And finally, thank you Pink Floyd. My dad loved the Floyd, obsessed over the Floyd, and found meaning to his life in the words. It was the soundtrack of his life.

Well now I’m completely drained…

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Come on, now,
I hear you're feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again.
I'll need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Just a little pinprick.
There'll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working, good.
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on its time to go.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.”

* = I love and I miss you dad.


  1. I am speechless. It was as beautiful as it was sad. I know that all the time you spent with your father really meant alot to him and he loved you more than words could say. Just remember, as long as he lives in your heart, he will live forever.

    I love you and I wish I could make this better (even though I know I can't) but it makes me smile to know that together you and I can make it through anything. {kiss & hug}

  2. I was fortunate enough to meet "Big Love", if only once, and I must say there was only laughter in the air. I stopped by to drop something off, yet stayed at least an hour to talk...and the conversation was interesting indeed!
    He LOVED Pink Floyd...and I will overlook that.
    I don't like Pink Floyd...and Big Love overlooked that too.

    I am honored to own something that was his, not because it's super cool (and just a little politically incorrect), but because it belonged to a man who I thought was pretty damn cool.

  3. Because he would have been an awesome Highlander.

    There's no time for us
    There's no place for us
    What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away
    From us

    Who wants to live forever
    Who wants to live forever....?

  4. Well said my friend, well said...