As I mentioned in my last post, this is something I’ve been working on for a while. It was extremely difficult to write, but I felt it was important to get it all down somewhere. This seemed as good an idea as any. Thanks for letting my get this all out of my system. I’ll be back with some more TV silliness later in the week.
This is my dad:
On December 26, 2012, after playing a hockey game (something he did regularly), he had a massive heart attack. The roller rink did not have an AED on-site, and no one around knew CPR. He was without oxygen for an unknown amount of time. Although he ultimately survived the cardiac issues, he suffered severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen that left him more or less comatose. After months of care and rehab that made little difference to his condition, my family made the difficult decision to move him into hospice care and let him go. He wouldn’t have wanted to live like that.
He passed away on June 1. He was 53 years old.
I have (obviously) been thinking a lot about him, his life, and our time together over the past few weeks (and months). Between going through photo albums, the outpouring of support from his family, friends, and coworkers, and my tendency to get lost in thought, I’ve learned (or remembered) a lot about him recently. I felt compelled to write everything down.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a huge hockey fan – and that’s entirely because of my dad. He was the biggest sports fan you’d ever have the pleasure (or misfortune, I suppose) of meeting, and could rattle off statistics about just about anything – football, baseball, soccer, basketball – but he didn’t love anything quite the way he loved hockey. I literally don’t remember a moment of my life in which I wasn’t a diehard New Jersey Devils fan. Legend has it my first word as a baby was “hockey”. It’s in my blood – just like it was in his. It’s been tough watching games without him this year, and I don’t know that I’ll ever watch the sport the same way again.
Beyond just being a rabid fan, my father also, obviously, played roller hockey right until the end. At 53 years old, he was out there multiple times a week, playing for several different teams. I take some comfort knowing his last true moments were doing what he loved. We always joked with him that he would die out there before he’d give up playing. Who knew we’d essentially be right?
The funny thing about grief is that it’s often the small stuff that gets you. Walking into a hockey game for the first time. Watching the first WNBA game of the season and realizing you have no one to text with during the game. Hearing the answering machine message at your parent’s house be not-your-dad’s voice for the first time in your entire existence.
That in mind, I’ve realized lately that I don’t think I’d be writing this blog, or really a fan of most of the things I enjoy if it weren’t for my dad. The more I’ve thought about him, the more I realized just how much he shaped my tastes growing up. That isn’t to say my mom didn’t have any effect on me – anyone that’s ever been in a room with me and my mother knows how alike we are – but when it came to TV, movies, and music – that’s all dad. He was a huge Star Trek nerd (I distinctly remember watching DS9 and Voyager with him all the time as a kid), constantly geeked out about Twilight Zone, and tried to get me into The X-Files when I was like, 10. When I decided Something Corporate was THE band I loved, he told me I should check out Ben Folds, and he took me to dozens of concerts when I was too young to drive myself – and often enjoyed them as much as I did.
Well, I wasn’t ready for The X-Files at 10 (and even if I was, my mom was sooo not having it), but I was at 20, and I loved it. I may have thought I was too cool for music recommended by my DAD when I was 15, but I adore Ben Folds now. And once I hit college, I started returning the favor. Hey dad, check out Fringe, I think you’ll like it. Hey dad, believe it or not Hanson is really frickin’ great now, you should check them out.
Would I have found my way to sci-fi/genre tv and movie fandom and the various music I like without his help? Maybe. It certainly seems like it might have just been in my DNA. But his passion for the things he loved – whether it be hockey, Todd Rundgren, his 100th viewing of 12 Angry Men, or just being around his family – that’s something I had to learn. And without watching him all those years, I don’t know if I would be writing this blog or filming videos of myself talking about TV to put on the internet.
It breaks my heart I’ll never get to thank him for that, and that he’ll never get to read my blog and see my videos. Even though I’ve written this blog for over a year, I never shared it with my family. I’m not sure why.
So thanks, Dad. For everything. I love you, I miss you, and I hope you’re enjoying the hell out of a Twilight Zone marathon somewhere.
Tags: real life stuff