For some reason or another I end up writing about my father's death a lot, I'm not really sure why, I honestly don't think about it that much. Today though, I was doing something that I would normally never do; listening to Mark McGrath on the radio...but only because he was being interviewed by Howard Stern. He talked briefly about his father's recent passing and about his divorced parent's relationship and I guess that's why I thought of this.
As would seem typical of 1980's divorced fathers, my father seemed to be late or absent altogether when it came to child support. I was too young to know why and I'm now too old to care why, it just was what it was. They never really spoke after their divorce. We weren't the family who got the divorced members in the same room for birthdays, holidays, or anything other than the few moments they saw one another when passing us back and forth on Thursdays and a few weekends a year.
Later, my father moved out of state and their contact became even less, as we saw him less. Eventually we got our driver's licenses and the contact dropped out altogether; save a rare moment. I'd say, in the last 10 years of his life my father and mother were in the same place at the same time for a total of about 3 minutes.
When it became evident that my father was about to die my mother was calling me all the time to check in on her youngest son, as I'm sure she was with my brother as well. She was helpful. She is always helpful in times like that.
After he passed away I flew home for his funeral. Not really knowing what my father would've wanted my brother and I excused ourselves from the planning and it was evident by the total lack of class the event showed. I remember a "Top Ten" list that included 100% too many beer and "tit" jokes; let me also note that if you're going to be classless you should make damn sure you're going to be funny...it was a failure on all levels.
On the other hand there was a corner of the room that was 100% classy, it was where my mother and step father sat. Not only did they out-dress everyone other than my father's children and siblings but the fact that they were there at all, just sharing their sympathy was a life lesson that I will not soon forget. I can't even begin to say how impressed and proud I am that they were the ones who raised me.
Often you'll hear people say that men marry woman who remind them of their mother, normally the links between Georgia and my mother aren't easy to come by but this example really shows the most important thing; they have integrity and empathy. Tonight Georgia and I signed up to donate blood again and also, while I was home putting the finishing touches on an extremely long and arduous work day the love of my life was serving chicken to the homeless.
(Note: I've got it fucking good.)