Elephant in the Room
It is weird leaving the scene. Knowing that this is the last time we will have a conversation but neither of us willing to acknowledge the event. I suppose neither of us wants to confront mortality, yours at the moment, mine sometime in the future. It seems so bizarre this social dance we decide to play as the ESPN 30/30 episode on the OJ trial plays in the background. We both feign interest in these events from the past discussing our beliefs about guilt and innocence, distracted for an hour or two the fact that you are dying way too young. To talk about that would be too cumbersome and painful so we watch Marcia Clark and the others play out their lurid tragedy instead. I ask you if you are hungry and get you a small amount of food as we continue to make small talk. Social conditioning has put up this awkward barrier so we don’t talk about the things that really matter. The morphine has made you sleepy and a bit loopy but I know you want to connect on a deeper level. It just isn’t possible.
You are gone now. I was told at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2016 you left this mortal coil. I found out while doing my weekend shopping on Sunday as I prepared for the week ahead. I tried to make sure you knew how much you meant to me over the years but I don’t think I was very good at that….all that social conditioning etc so here it is that I want you to know.
Thank you for embracing me, a kid without a father and treating me like I was part of the family. I always felt loved and cherished even when your brother, my “Father” didn’t make me feel that way. Whenever I felt like I somehow didn’t belong to that side of the family you went out of you way to make sure I was included and loved. It was very complicated after “Dad” told me I wasn’t his son, especially by him but you never wavered.
Thanks for all of the Dodger games. I remember so trips to Dodger Stadium! We would sit near the bullpen and you would flirt with the relievers……Stan Wall is one that sticks out in my mind to this day! We would always wait after the game as I tried to get autographs from the players as they went to their cars. I remember getting Steve Garvey’s, Bill Russel’s, Vin Scully and Jerry Dogett. Ron Cey was kind of dick to me an wouldn’t sign as he had a blond on each arm as he left one night and you told me he was in hurry to get home! No doubt! I have been a life long Dodger fan to this day even though your interest waned after the O’Malleys sold.
Thanks for all of the trips to the amusement parks. Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, LA County Fair. We had so much fun eating really crappy food (Fried Pickles…….really?) and getting on questionable rides! You probably cured me of wanting to get on every roller coaster because I almost crapped myself on more that one occasion. Thanks for indulging me in endless games of Skeeball and crooked free throws at the midway. I still love trying to win the big Bear!
Thanks for sitting me down and playing the entire Who album “Tommy”. It blew my mind at a very young age and colored my decision to pursue the guitar to this very day. After I gave up the dream of being the first baseman for the Dodgers I began playing music in earnest. I wrote a few songs and by my late 20’s became an “almost” professional musician as my band had many labels sniffing around to sign us. Didn’t happen for a ton of reasons but we got close!
Thank you for always being you. Sarcastic, loving, supportive, non judgmental, open. I could write a 1000 adjectives and not do you justice.
I m going to miss you. I regret we weren’t as close as we got older but thank you for shaping me into the man I have become.
Life isn’t always fair. We lose people before their time on a regular basis and that really sucks. I thank God every day that I have people in my life that make a choice to make a difference. Thanks for being one of them….I will always love you Auntie.