Friday, April 30, 2010

10 years, Daddy.

The night before my dad started dying, I tried on a bridesmaid dress at his house.  I wore the strappy matching sandals days later when I ran full speed down the hospital hallway. 

It was Thursday when we got the call. He had had a massive heart attack while opening the box on his long awaited Apple G4. He lingered in the ICU for 4 days on life support before he was finally taken to that giant computer superstore in the sky. R2 was 9 months old, and we were still reeling from his birth and trauma.

It's been 10 years today. He would be 62 years old. It's still unbelievable sometimes that he is actually, permanently dead. He was a giant of a man, in life and in spirit. I'll tell you a little bit about him.

Daddy was 6'4 and had shoulders that barely fit through doorways. His curly black hair was largely silver in the years prior to his death, and he often styled it, or did not style it, in the image of Albert Einstein. He wore denim shirts and jeans, pulled way, way up for most of my life, although I have heard rumors of the old days when he wore profane t-shirts and star-spangled bellbottoms. 

He never took anything too seriously, except hating Nixon and Hitler. Everything else was funny, some way or another. He was arrogant and irresponsible and brilliant and kind. He was my best friend and my constant cheerleader. He was a genius, a true genius. Sometimes when Toby crosses his ankles or falls asleep with a book on his chest, I remember. It's sweeter, now. 

The day before he died, we gathered (the 5 of us kids and our spouses, and Mama) to talk about what to do about life-support. Somehow, in that tense moment full of tears, we found ourselves laughing uproariously at thoughts of what he would do in heaven. God took the decision out of our hands, and we said goodbye. There was no laughter for a couple of days, and then it came back. It was different, but it came back.

Life isn't fair, he always said. Also, he said, what do you mean, there's nothing to eat? There's eggs, there's cheese...

poems about Daddy


  1. i remember, thanks for sharing. love Toby's reflections of his PaPa

  2. I can't believe it's already been 10 yrs since that great guy was on this earth. Heaven is truly blessed. He must be super proud of you...

  3. My heart ached and gleamed at the same time when I read your words. I still miss my mom after 18 years and the void is ever so constant since her passing. Calvin was/(is in heaven) a remarkable man. I am sorry for the loss dear friend.

  4. Aww... Jess.

    Bittersweet, eh?

    Those pics are priceless and thank you for still remembering, still posting, still remembering.

    When my Dad died, I had to talk about it. There were no blogs then, but I had to talk. To say, in fact, that there was this man, Bill Foley. He lived, he loved, he died. He mattered. Even if few people knew him, he mattered.

    Somehow it is not just therapy, it really dignifies those who have passed. To talk, to reminisce. It somehow honors them and re cements their impact upon us.

    These words I write feel shallow right now; but I hope we never ever EVER forget our fathers.

    About 12 years ago, in my mind's eye, I saw my Dad in heaven. I saw him; sitting in a huge huge library overlooking the greenest lawns. Golf course-like lawns. He was sitting, alone, quietly like he always did; staring out the window. I felt like he was "catching up" in that library on all that he might have learned down here on earth and then some.

    I marveled at the grace of God.

    I love you!


  5. I watched "heavens gates and Hells Flames not to long ago .When your dads part came up I laughed and cried all the way through it.I love him and miss him but can't hardly think of him without a laugh!

  6. One of my memories of that day was they put us all in this little room. I didn't know why. Someone told us he might not be dying. You had been through so much with Richy. And you yelled " If he is not dying, why did they put us in this stupid little room?!!! and you kicked the trash can. At that point I knew you knew more about that stupid little room than the rest of us and I knew our lives were about to change radically.-G

  7. I have the lunch box he used from Hell's Gates and Heaven's flames.It is so hard to believe it has been 10 years, so many days I thought I might just see him coming home from some mission trip dragging his luggage like he used to-G

  8. Wow. Thanks for posting this, Jess. Your dad was a true symbol of peace in my life. I felt so safe around him, he was dad-like to all who needed love. I know he was put in my life at the perfect moment to show me balance and teach me to filter my feelings into something positive. I love that he's in the giant computer superstore in the sky!!!! When you see him again, he will have made all kinds of crazy things to show you!!! =0)

  9. So glad you posted this. It reminds us all of what we can do to better the world, no matter what our histories. Also, it encourages me in a big way. He would be proud of you!

  10. yes i know that Randy often talks about the love he felt from him. He BELIEVED IN RANDY even when others didn't =)


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