Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Our first and last meeting
Heading to visitation, Friday afternoon
On the 10-mile drive from Mom’s in Livermore, Ky., to the funeral home in Calhoun, I got more nervous the closer I got.
I passed my high school, the one and only in our county. It was there, in November 1993, that I met my father for the first time in the parking lot after my basketball scrimmage. I was 17.
And it was there, midcourt during halftime of a boys basketball game just two months later, that I would see him for the last time.
We spoke briefly about why he had stood me up for the Get to Know Each Other Dinner we had planned during our initial meeting two months before, and then we were on our way.
Sixteen-and-a-half years ago, and I never saw him again.
What a shame, I thought, as I pulled into the funeral home parking lot on Friday afternoon.
I sat in the back of the lot, watching people park their cars and walk inside to comfort the family and pay their respects.
All of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. And my stomach still hurt.
Why was this happening? Why was I here? Why in the hell had he not made more of an effort?
Holy shit, I COULDN’T BREATHE.
From the time I had learned of Dad’s motorcycle crash until his death a little over a week later, I prayed for a happy ending.
Maybe he would need an organ transplant, I thought. And being as I’m his only blood child (his son is adopted), they’d have to contact me.
And I’d come to the rescue and give him a kidney or whatever, and he’d recover and thank me and love me and be my son’s Granddaddy, and we’d all live happily ever after.
Or his son would get the email I sent him in the final two days of our dad’s life and accept my offer to travel to Nashville and talk to him to help wake him from his coma.
Can you imagine? I save his life with a part of my body or be the voice that snaps him from his coma?
Well, that’s the way it would go if I were writing that book.
But this wasn't a book, and I sure as heck didn't write it.
He was dead. No tidy, heroic endings here.
Deep breath. I’m going in.
To be continued …