This year’s been great at some things, less great at others, such as “family preservation.” My grandfather died in February – my grandfather was always a kind of unstoppable force that we joked could only die if the life was literally knocked out of him, but instead it turns out that he’s just as mortal and frail as any other living creature. My dad underwent heart surgery in May, and that was pretty nerve-wracking, too. In September, I lost my eyesight temporarily (whether it’s my secret iron constitution or a fierce desire to get better or because it was just going to happen that way, my eyesight got a lot better after steroids).
And now, the day after Thanksgiving, my husband’s father, Tom, passed away rather suddenly. Christian’s dad did have a lot of health problems and a lot of pain. Most recently, he’d gotten a pretty bad cold that’d progressed into him having a lot of junk in his lungs. The way it was relayed to me was that he “wasn’t doing very well.” He’d been refusing to go see a doctor because that’s how he rolls: he hates doctors. He’s got many unpleasant health problems.
I’m not ready to start talking about him in the past tense just yet… for one, it’s been a day. For another, the best aspects of Tom live on in Christian, particularly in showing great compassion for people, even strangers, and showing people respect and generosity when others won’t. His parents have always invited people into their home like family. Those are traits that I admire a lot and have tried to incorporate into my life, and if we ever have kids, I want them to possess this trait, too.
Tom had some rough times in his life. When I first met him, I thought he hated me on sight because he gave me such a stinkeye that I was pretty taken aback, but at the same time, Christian gave me a fierce stinkeye when I met him for the first time, too. Suddenly, it all seemed to make sense! Later, I found out that his dad always looks pissed off because he’s always in pretty serious pain from a really bad back injury that resulted in constant crippling pain. The pain was bad enough that there was pretty much nothing that could really stop it. It was just getting worse, and his health issues just kept accumulating. The last time I saw him was in September and I thought to myself that he probably looked more frail than I could ever remember having seen him. It was pretty clear that the dude was suffering.
Tom ain’t suffering anymore, and maybe it’s possible to take some comfort in that. Nobody who ever deserves to suffer ever seems to actually end up suffering, and for all the kind-hearted things he did, from dressing up as Santa for little kids to helping out total strangers get a place to sleep, he did more good than most. He was a great guy, and I’m glad to have known him, and I’m glad that he was able to show my husband how to likewise be great.
Please keep the Daly family in your thoughts and prayers.
That said: 2011, you have got to ease the fuck up with the tragedy, please.