Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2010|
Eddie and Zera
My father passed away. He was 61 years old. I had my flight booked to Boston to visit him in the hospital, and he died the day before I was scheduled to leave. I never got to say farewell to him in person. Instead I got to go to his wake, his funeral, and to his small room to sort through all the belongings he left behind.
I thought the hardest part of my trip, aside from flying (which I hate), would be seeing his body in the open casket. That was hard, but not the hardest part. It took all the strength I had to walk into the funeral home. The first thing I noticed, after his pale, painted lips were the rosary beads draped in his hands. My father was not a religious man. A great friend of his suggested I put a pair of drum sticks in his hands. That was exactly what was missing. The next day she brought me a set of sticks and I placed them under his hands. He would have loved that.
My father was a drummer. He also had a deep, soulful singing voice. All these years I’ve been playing music and I never gave him much credit for influencing me musically, but he did. He always had music gear around the house, and I loved plugging his microphones into his amplifier and making up songs or putting on radio shows with my friend. He took me to my first concert when I was about 7 or 8. We saw one of his favorites, Willie Nelson. My father never “made it” as a musician. He never really made much of his life. He got heavily involved in drugs and sadly that consumed him.
The hardest part of the trip was going through his belongings. What a strange thing to have to do. I felt like I was invading his space, snooping through things I shouldn’t be looking at. I kept waiting for him to walk in and ask what I was doing. It felt wrong to try to decide what I wanted to keep and what should be discarded. I packed two boxes filled with his journals, photos, drawings, a painting, hats, a shirt, and legal documents. Reading through his journals has proven to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. If that doesn’t conjure up the need to call someone and clarify things, I don’t know what would.
It’s been over a month now since he’s passed. The urge to call him is slowly fading. For the first few weeks after he died it seemed I thought of a reason to call him every other minute. A few times I actually dialed his cell phone number and listened to his still-active voicemail message. He had been sick for years, but didn’t suffer many symptoms until the very end. I guess, in a way, I am thankful the end came as suddenly as it did.
The Crumbling Stags (my father, Eddie, back row/center)
Rest In Peace.
The Carpenter from Birds And Bullets Fly. Written by: Zera Marvel
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