Thursday, October 07, 2004

Death and those left behind

I remember talking with Christian regarding his mother on a couple of occasions although only briefly. His touching passage reminds me of the passing of my own father in 1995, I was 25 and he 54. His lung cancer, which he had fought bravely for more than three years, had spread to his brain. This came on quite suddenly, My brother and I were on a flight from Reno back to Boston when he passed, it was Christmas Eve. I can't look at Christmas eve the same. Now it is somber and I generally look for time alone to reflect and examine my life and wonder what my father would think of where I am in the great race.

I realized that for me the funeral had no closure, it was just an extension of the pain I felt and the well wishers did little to ease the despair I felt. The senselessness of it are what struck me most. My father was an alcholaholic most of his life and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Additionally, our relationship was troubled until I returned from Desert Storm, the only thing we had in common until then was the Red Sox and the Patriots. It was the only thing we could talk about when I was in High School. It seemed that when we finally found an area of mutual respect and a reasonable closeness he was gone.

The reasons for my father's self destructive nature have troubled me as much as Christian in trying to understand his mother. I have come to no answers only theories. My father was a Green Beret in Vietnam and admitted to me that at times he had nightmares as a result. He was an orphan and had no family to speak of. He was closed mouthed about his beliefs and did not talk openly about matters of the heart, or soul. So it has been hard for me to know the man I feared as a child. All I can say today is that my father was a rough natured person with a good heart, who wanted me to think things through for myself and make my own decisions, he gave me a love for baseball and taught me how to hit a ball and to box, he taught me that even if the Patriots, or Red Sox, suck you still root for them because they are our team, and he taught me that pain is nothing more than a state of mind. But the one thing I remember best was something he said at my High School Graduation, "Do better than me." I try to reach his example.

I am not as poetic as Christian, it is not in my make up. But I suppose what I want to say is that for me, I keep my father's values and direction. I have a few times that I remember, one of the best was having a cackling competition when the Tales from the Crypt was still running. I have to thank Christian for reminding me to remember more than one day a year. Additionally, I want to extend my own sympathy for the pain that he has to deal with on such a personal day in his own life. I also feel honored for him to think enough of us all to share such personal thoughts.
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