Yesterday my father passed away at the age of 70.
Earlier this year, in a previous post, I shared my thoughts upon learning about my father’s declining health. That piece touched on our estranged relationship and his battle with dementia. I contend that he was out of touch with reality long before I was born. For those interested in the deeper layers of this story, that post explores my “tragic backstory”.
Cancer was the final chapter in my father’s life, a period where he gradually became a shadow of the man I remembered from my childhood. It’s a universal truth, isn’t it? We’re born, we grow, and eventually diminish.
His death, long anticipated, still unfolded with startling rapidity. Early Friday morning, I received a call from a hospice nurse, informing me of his imminent passing. The day progressed with more calls, painting a somber picture of his final moments—legs turning blue, cold and stiff, breaths growing shallow. The finality of it all came via a text from one of his caregivers, a digital epitaph:
Now, I face the task of handling his final arrangements and the challenge of composing his obituary.
He left little behind, materially or relationally. His last years saw him estranged not only from me but from most others in his life. As far as I know, only a few family members, like his siblings Stephanie and Michael, might still be around, but I’ve spoken to neither in the last 30 years. Before his descent into homelessness, he seemed to have pushed away every friend he had. In the end, he was absolutley alone.
Despite the complexities of our relationship, I loved him. He was my father. His passing brings a sense of sadness, a mourning for someone who had, in many ways, departed from my life long ago.
I continue my efforts to avoid meeting my end as he has done.
Living in Pain
I initially intended this week’s post to explore the relentless challenges of chronic pain, a subject that has become increasingly relevant to me over the past few weeks. My pain levels have escalated, plunging me into a maelstrom of frustration, despair, and a host of other negative emotions that have worn me down considerably.
It’s a familiar pattern. Neglecting exercise and my self-care routine invariably leads to an intensification of my chronic pain. Striking a balance is daunting, especially when life’s other demands, like the holiday season, consume extra time and energy.
When the pain intensifies, it begins to dominate my existence. It eclipses other thoughts, making it difficult to concentrate or find motivation. This pain hinders not just my ability to perform daily tasks but also the very efforts that could alleviate it.
Achieving mindfulness becomes a herculean task when every moment is overshadowed by the relentless awareness of physical discomfort.
Maintaining my self-care routine is akin to a part-time job, if not a full-time commitment. Balancing this with the responsibilities of a career and parenthood is an uphill battle. This routine doesn’t promise a cure; it’s a ceaseless fight to keep the pain at bay, knowing that any relaxation of these efforts could lead to a worse state.
It’s a demoralizing reality.
Nevertheless, I persist. I’ve doubled down on my efforts, striving to not let myself be consumed by the pain. I’m witnessing gradual improvements, a testament to the discipline and resilience this journey demands. It’s a continuous battle, one that requires unwavering dedication and inner strength.
So many deaths, bad and good
In a week marked by notable passings, we saw the end of several influential lives.
Henry Kissinger, a figure often mired in controversy and labeled by many as a war criminal, passed away. His legacy, fraught with debate and criticism, leaves a complex mark on history.
Charlie Munger, known for his business acumen and partnership with Warren Buffett, also left us. His death can be viewed through a more neutral lens, leaving behind a legacy in the world of finance and investment.
In sadder news, we mourn the loss of Rosalynn Carter and Sandra Day O’Connor. Rosalynn Carter, wife of former (only good) President Jimmy Carter, was a beacon of grace and advocacy. Her contributions, particularly in the areas of mental health and humanitarian work, made her a beloved figure.
Sandra Day O’Connor’s passing is particularly poignant for me. As the first woman on the Supreme Court, she wasn’t just a trailblazer but also a balanced jurist. Despite her conservative leanings, she often demonstrated a capacity for liberal viewpoints. I’ve always found her opinions to be thoughtful, reflecting a commendable approach to her role on the Court.
Their departures remind us of the varied impacts individuals can have on our world and the diverse legacies they leave behind.
Poorly Spelled Hate
This was posted to a local subreddit:
Surprised to see the aftermath of an apparent hate crime during my bicycle ride today @ N Montgomery Ave & 11th.
What the hell is wrong with people?
Now, as I generally do, I’ll quickly recount the week as it unfolded:
Sunday — Waffle Day
Sunday was, again, Waffle Day. It was another wonderful Waffle Day.
I love Waffle Day.
Lou and I also took a lovely walk Downtown. We stopped at Gastropup and spoiled Ollie, as we so often do, with another another varied selection of chews for his little terrier love of chomping.
We also got him the cutest darn hat:
Look at it! It has ear flaps!
It was a nice little Sunday.
First day back to work after a week off. Despite the previously mentioned pain and typical struggles with returning to work after a week off, I actually managed to get some work done. It felt nice to be productive.
For dinner we had 4 Sisters with Momo.
It was a full moon and felt like it. A “Beaver Moon”.
It was a nice little Monday.
Tuesday wasn’t particularly remarkable. It was dreary and cold. I made fish and pasta for dinner.
Wednesday wasn’t particularly remarkable either, at least during the day.
For dinner Lou and I had Greens on Your Way delivered because Liz demanded fast food as payment for watching Ollie. It’s not the most unreasonable exchange, but Lou and I just cannot stomach McDonald’s much anymore.
After dinner I accompanied Lou in attending her board meeting for the Kitsap Community Food Coop at Ashley’s Pub. Mostly it was a meet and greet with the new store manager and a bit of discussion about making goals for 2024 as it approaches sooner than anyone would prefer.
Can you believe it’s already December?
Ashley, the new Vice President of the board, called out her regular, and my new friend, Deena Taylor’s interview by Josh Farley with the Kitsap Smokestack at The Manette Saloon last week:
It’s pretty cool that she’s getting some recognition for her work on Bremelore.
Which reminds me that I need to reply to her most recent email reply.
Thursday was another relatively uneventful day overall.
I made yakisoba and teriyaki salmon for dinner.
Our new couch was delivered a full week earlier than promised, my thanks to Furniture World for their under-promise & over-delivery.
Lou and I finished watching Better Call Saul and started watching Beef.
I have a lot of thoughts about Saul but I’ll perhaps share them another time.
As I mentioned, my father died.
I had planned to attend Bremerton’s First Friday Art Walk and Krampusnacht (archive link for when that link becomes outdated)!
For reasons I’m sure you can understand, however, that did not happen. I am finding myself forever frustrated at my inability to get out to do the things I want to do. :( Usually Friday nights are a challenge. We’ve been unable to attend Kitsap CREATE meetings either as they are on Fridays. I’m not sure what it is about Fridays…
In the evening we had Chili Thai for dinner and watched The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Wes Anderson is a brilliant man and does excellent things with Roal Dahl’s work - the cast does incredible work.
Saturday — Today
That leaves today to discuss.
Obviously I worked on this post.
Lou was busy today. She had a CPR class in the morning and then did some work at the co-op (if you like their new holiday display table at the front, that’s her handiwork)
After I finally got Liz up, she and I watched the “Fortnite Event”. We’re eager to try out the next season. I’m curious to see how they’ll integrate LEGO into their universe.
I took Liz for a daddy / daughter “date”. We went to Quarters Arcade, stopped at Blue Sky, then got lunch at Yoko Yoko Ramen (where we were served by a robot). Then we took Ollie to Gastropup (to replace all the chews he got into earlier this week that I totally forgot to write about above, I think it was Tuesday). We stopped into Fingers Duke as well and spent too much money there (and everywhere else but that’s just how it goes). We finally stopped at the co-op on the way home and grabbed a few things necessary.
In the afternoon we watched Violent Night and it’s a ton of fun. It will definitely be in my Christmas rotation with Die Hard and Gremlins.
It’s been a nice little Saturday overall.