April 14th

My father’s birthday was April 14th. April 14th, 2010, he was on stage for the last time, doing a birthday jam at the Villa Nova. A year later, and he’s just gone.

On April 16th, 2010, he went into the hospital. And came out a week later. Then back in. Then out. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. May 29th, we were told he had stage 4 cancer.

He’d had it since November – when they diagnosed him with pancreatitis. And sent him home with a diet. He hadn’t had pacreatitis. He had cancer. And no one ever bothered to test him for it. No one did any scans. And every doctor was shocked that no one else had done that – and then didn’t do it themselves.

May 29th, he was given six to twelve months to live. He asked my mother how he was going to live that long if he couldn’t EAT. He said he’d be dead in a month.

On June 28th, at around 10am (I’d been up all night so I’m hazy about the time) he passed away.

I really hated it when he was right. He was always right. And I always hated it.

At the memorial service, his brother-by-love, who he met in pre-school, and who was his closest friend to the very end, said he was always asking “Is it enough?”. When he was on stage, “Was that enough? Loud enough? Hard enough? Soft enough? Energetic enough?” “Did I study hard enough for that test?” “I got all A’s – think that’s enough?” My uncle, at the service, said “Yes, Tom…it was enough.”

No. It was not. That’s BULLSHIT. It was not enough. It wasn’t enough yelling, or pounding, or fit-throwing. It wasn’t enough. He couldn’t have been a bigger asshole. But it was NOT ENOUGH. It’s a year later, and I would give anything for him to scream at me to turn off the fucking air conditioner, to demand where the FUCK HIS SUNGLASSES are, to ask what the HELL I’m doing up so late, or why I can’t fucking keep it down while he’s trying to sleep. To come into my office, sigh at me, and sit down, and start eating the food he brought home for only him, no one else – because he was lonely in the livingroom.

To call at fucking three AM on his way home from a gig, to ask if there’s ice in the house. And then to demand that I wake my mother up, who’ll yell at me, because how DARE I come between them, he wants to talk to his WIFE.

To demand at two AM that I get up and play cards with him because I WILL REGRET not doing so some day! (FYI – THAT I do NOT regret. I had a midterm the next morning. I would have flunked. I played with him the night before and the night after.)

…but mostly…I would give anything to get up at eight AM, go into the kitchen, and find a chocolate-frosted donut bar, thick and heavy, waiting for me, because he went through DK’s on his way home and brought me a donut for breakfast because he hadn’t gotten to see me in days.

And I’d absolutely kill for him to come into my room at 3am, kneel next to my bed, put his head on my tummy, and just fall asleep there, because he missed me.


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