Dad, Requiem (Part 1) April 20, 2008Posted by nukemhill in Family.
It’s been 2 1/2 weeks now, since he died. I’ve been walking through life of late in an “Ignorant” space. Not sure how else to put it. I mostly go around, happily ignorant of his death. I’m doing my thing, not connected to reality at all. Just puttering around in my own little world.
And then there are times when his death just comes up and pounds me upside the head with a baseball bat. Happened last night in bed, after we’d cleaned up the Pesach dinner. (“only” 26 people this year; must be some kind of record for us. One year we had 33.) I was lying there, just reminiscing over the evening, and thought about how interested Dad would be in the whole Seder meal.
Oops. Past Tense. Bam. No tears, but a deep, painful ache.
It’s really the little things. We can’t talk about the Padres or Chargers anymore. We can’t cheer on the USD basketball team. That was one of the things, actually, that indicated how far he had slipped. Mark went to visit him to watch USD in the NCAA Tournament. Apparently Dad didn’t care in the least that USD was in the process of beating UConn. That was a real eye-opener for all of us.
I can’t call him and tell him that my boss has authorized the start of the program re-architect that I proposed just before we left for Vancouver. I can’t tell him that I’ve been named Assistant Manager for Alexander’s baseball team. I can’t tell him about the work that I’ve been doing on Alexander’s delivery, and the immediate improvement he’s showing. Man, what a fastball!
I can’t remind him of how proud Amie and I are of him. Of how brilliant he was; how dedicated he was to his students; how much he fought for what was right. I can’t argue with him over politics, knowing that even though we fundamentally disagree on how, we still agree on why. He was such a champion for the little guy. He fought so hard to see injustices corrected. Even though he was about as far-Left as anyone could be and not be considered a Socialist (whereas I, on the other hand, still consider myself something of a closet little-L libertarian), we still agreed that the government was broken. Maybe for different reasons, but hey, I’ll take my victories where I can!
I can’t tell him that Alexander, completely unexpectedly, has been accepted into an acting school. What a trip. Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree. He gets it from Liora and Dad. Dad sure would be excited. But I can’t call him up and let him know….
I can’t tell him, anymore, that he’s my hero. I told him two days before he died. I told him how much I admired his willingness to be a dragon slayer. I told him that his legacy resides in the thousands of students he taught over the 30 years he was at USD. Every student who walked out of his class at the end of the semester knew that much more about how to read a text; about how to write a composition that communicated effectively; about how and why to love poetry; about the magic of the English language. I think he and Jeff Goldstein would have gotten along famously. Jeff’s really big on Authorial Intent. Dad was really big on “What does the text say?” They both basically dismissed modern literary theory as so much mental masturbation.
We won’t be able to argue about politics anymore. We won’t be able to argue about Global Warming anymore. We won’t be able to discuss my writing anymore. I won’t be able to share my latest crazy programming ideas with him anymore. I won’t be able to brag about Liora’s workshops anymore, and how amazing they are. I would have loved for him to be able to do one of them. I would have died and gone to heaven myself if he’d been able to go all the way through Completion. I think he would have seen his childhood (as brutal and painful as it was) in an entirely different light. I wish he could have had that gift before he died.
Have I told you all lately how much I hate Parkinson’s Disease? Like, to the core of my being. With a white-hot passion. If we could eradicate that disease from the planet, it would be a mitzvah beyond measure. It destroyed the man that I truly loved. It ravaged his body, and chewed up his mind. That brilliant, keen, incisive, sharp, steel-trap of a mind. The mind I never felt I could measure up to; that I aspired to. I hated seeing that light fade away over the last few years.
And now it’s gone.
And I weep.
Update (20080421): Not sure why, but the comments seem to be nuked. I’m trying to figure it out.
Update the Second: Comments are fixed now. Had to unlock the vault.