Not that I think anyone reads this, but if there is a person out there that does, or if years from now when I’m suffering from Alzheimer’s I need an overt reminder, last year I had a really bad week. My Dad went into ICU and was eventually diagnosed with MDS, a form of Leukemia. So, from that week in September, till July 4th, my Dad fought his disease. On July 4th, 2010, he succumbed to pneumonia.
I saw my dad just weeks before when I took a few extra days off to visit him on my way to Michigan for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. It was only 600 miles out of my way and only an extra day of vacation from work to visit for three days. At work we were (and sadly still are) navigating a huge merger and unfortunately the pressure there on top of everything else prohibited me from spending more time with my father during his last days on Earth. It saddens me, but I take comfort in the simple phrases, “That’s life,” and “You have to do what you have to do.” They were phrases I heard from him often. He missed a lot of my childhood too. Not that I blame him. He was doing what he had to do to keep a family afloat, although, sometimes against his will, but all that is water under a very old, very distant bridge. I was doing what I had to do. I keep telling myself that. And I know that he understood.
I’m the kind of adult to make myself a big bowl of ice cream before dinner and when my kids complain I reply, “It’s good to be an adult!” Now I feel quite the opposite. Being a responsible adult, I was compelled by cynical, rational, dependable, logical thought to do what I had to do instead of doing what I wanted to do. Although, maybe to be fair I cowardly hid behind my responsibilities to avoid mental anguish and heartbreak? It was so difficult being with my father the last two or three times I visited him. Each time it tore a hole in my heart. I can honestly reflect and see that I did take comfort in my responsibilities and felt a little like they were excuses to avoid my obligations to my father. If I were to grade myself, I’d give myself a B+, I did a good job, but I could have done so much better.
And since my last post, I’ve been in a really bad place all summer long… last spring… last winter, and all of last fall. Life is just starting to feel like it’s beginning to return to normal. I know I’m still grieving. I also know that I won’t know when I stop. It’s not like you can put a date and a time stamp on the end of the process.
If someone sees this writing, far in the future when technology allows time travel into the past, please do me a favor, visit Mike Esposito at the Barry Tepp Company in Metuchen, NJ, USA at 11 Lenard Street, (Latitude 40.547102, Longitude -74.372678) some time between 1973 and 1974 and give this message to him, “Your son Andrew has sent a message through time. He loved you with all his heart and missed you terribly. He knew everything you’ve done in your life, all your secrets were revealed, and he forgave you and loved you unconditionally until the end.” That would be nice and shouldn’t mess up the time line any, he came to know that. It would just be nice if he knew it sooner.