I haven’t written much on the blog this summer and tonight, the psych 101 revelation dawned on me as to why that is. I say ‘dawned’ but that sounds like I’m chanting in the lotus position when things just ‘dawn on me.’
Let me be clear. I was whining on the phone to Ann, which is how most of my personal revelations begin: me whining.
Ann was patient, of course.
Tonight’s whine wandered into me not writing anything new lately, barely blogging. While I’m never sure how many friends read this website, once in a while someone will call, worried, and say, ‘What’s up? No blog entries.’ So I do try to update the content every now and then to say ‘Still trying to figure things out over here. You?’
Ann asked me what I last wrote and then WHAM I experienced this dawning: my father’s eulogy was the last thing I posted on the Warrior page. I realized that if I wrote something new, his eulogy would get bumped lower. Be less recent.
This is one of those ‘moving on’ moments that seem so obvious when you read about them in grief brochures (doctor’s office waiting room). But then it’s happening to you and it’s like, oh. Right. This is lifelong grief.
If I write something new, it would push his eulogy lower.
I miss my dad.
I hate this death situation we all get to share. I would really like to know, how the fucking hell people just smile and nod when one of the most awesomest men you’ve ever met just leaves? Just fucking leaves? Which now means that many of my Minnesota friends reading this will never meet him. Ever.
My goddaughters never met him. Never will.
How can I make them understand that part of the love I have for them is what he shared with me?
Dammit, I need to talk to my dad because I want to ask his advice on this hard life stuff. But I am still very uncomfortable with prayer and I have to get over that, like now, because I think he went into the Catholic heaven and that’s how you reach people up there. You drop on your temporarily-Catholic knees and pray to God Almighty to love your dad and give him a hug that he knows is from me.
On the plus side, I was afraid my relationship with my dad would end when he died, and it didn’t, so that’s a relief. I still talk to him every day, a half-dozen times in my head, telling him to quit giving me his stupid advice and then the next minute saying, “I dunno, Pops. What do you think about this?”
Every memory is now gently perfect, even the painful ones. We could both be difficult, so some of our memories together just suck. I have a moment from when I was 13 and he would not let me buy a skateboard. I am not trying to be cute – that fight agonizes me to this day. I was a teenage douchebag.
But I can relive memories like these easier now, because I know how this father/son thing ends for us. My father thought I “was a pleasure,” and I loved him on his deathbed. So the painful memories hurt, and suck, but they are softer. We did alright, me and Dad.
Yes, we had our shit. We didn’t resolve it all. But we did alright.
In fact, the only thing that could disrupt our relationship now is new information, like that he had a secret Canadian family.
Oh god, Dad, please don’t let it be revealed that you had a secret family in Canada who you went to visit all those times when you we thought you were sneaking cigarettes in the garage. I don’t want a half-Canadian sister named “Irene.”
I think we’re okay on that front, though. I think he spent all his ‘secret Canadian family time’ being exhausted off his ass with his three jobs, four kids, football coaching, church involvements, extended family, etc.
One of my real sisters is named Eileen and since Canadian Irene would be quite a bit younger, that means we were the preferred family and they were all named in loving imitation. How awkward for them. There would be this Canadian 32-year-old named Stedman and I would hate his guts.
(Don’t worry, I’m just giving you shit, Pops.)
But I think I’m supposed to write about some other stuff now.
Might be time.
I recently faced a difficult crossroad about this upcoming weekend. My men’s group, New Warriors, are hosting another incredible New Warrior Training Adventure. I’ve written about this experience many times before; check the archives. I need to breathe in the power of these men and in their presence breathe out some of my own unique giftedness.
Sometimes, staffing is like that one time with my Dad when I chipped off the baby angel’s toe from the church’s nativity scene, in that I get yelled at for something by a guy who loves me enough to be angry and he is unafraid to show it.
This same weekend, my father is being honored in Illinois by his high school alma mater. As a student, Dad did crazy shit with football, broke track records and was damn good at basketball, I am told. Decades later, he coached the St. Ed track athletes who broke his same records. What kind of man coaches the next generation to be their best, even if it means surpassing what he has accomplished? He coached them on how to beat his records.
This Saturday night during a home football game, he’s being inducted into their Hall of Fame. There will be a ceremony where my mom and siblings walk out on the field.
I can’t believe I was forced to choose between the NWTA (which happens twice a year and I missed the Spring one) and an out-of-state football ceremony where we all get to love my dad in public, so big, so big.
Though I decided to remain on our NWTA staff, I still agonize over this decision a few times a day. I pray to Almighty God on how to best love my Pops. Will he think I love him less if I do not attend the halftime ceremony? But I think this might be my way to honor you, Dad, to love other men who need to experience what it means to be loved with strength.
I won’t ever stop mourning you and asking for advice, then gritting my teeth and asking you to kindly butt out. Don’t go too far.
Anyway, it’s late. We’ll chat more tomorrow. I know that now.