A place for a

09.03.2015

The man who watched his father die

Growing up without a father was … not really hard. I didn’t know any better. It was only when I dared to look back and see what could’ve been that I felt a deep regret. Yet being a victim can make you blind towards others’ struggle, friend or enemy. I want to share with you a story of a man I met on my journey to Peru and whom I respect and love despite the fact that I do not know him very well.

Sash Jorden is an actor from Hollywood and a classic straight American guy. When I asked him if he was interested in contributing, he was as kind as to share a very personal story about his father’s death in his early 20s.

At first I was hesitant; this is a place for people who grew up without a father – this man had had one. But in the next instant I realized my hurtful arrogance. Not my pain, but my self-pity had made me look down upon any other person’s struggle in life. I thought I was special, but I’m not. I am 25 and I have started to think like an old man, looking back at life in regret. But whilst Sash had a father in his youth, I still have the chance to learn from mine if I can stop to focus on my bitterness and find the strength to ask for his guidance. Even if that doesn’t work out, there’s plenty time to do everything I want. I have been too blind to see how much is still ahead when I was thinking of the time I was robbed off. Yeah, I will never have that memory of a naive innocent first time with some inexperienced 14 year old at high school and having been part of the in-crowd. Fuck it, that’s over. My regret not only made me a monster to myself, but to everyone else, too.

Since I am going to tell my own story soon, this is the perfect moment for a perspective from a man who has seen something of life. You can also visit Sash’s blog if you like his style.

July 8th 1982

This was the day my father died. My mother woke me up and said something is wrong with pop, I think it was between 10 pm and midnight. I went into their bedroom and there he was Eyes closed breathing heavily he was in his underwear no teeth he had wet himself. There is no such thing as dying with dignity, not according to what I saw, I told my mom to call 911 poor woman was out of it. She told them he was having a heart attack and to hurry, wishful thinking. So I went to him and started CPR just hoping I was doing it right I tried and tried but it didn’t work I couldn’t bring him back. So I just stood back and watched, I was watching him die it was so fucking surreal it was like I was on the outside looking in and I found myself thinking hurry up and die because I didn’t want to watch anymore, and then came the death rattle, and he was gone. I don’t know how long it took but it was long enough for me so now I had to tell my mom that he was gone she was in the living room sitting on a couch in a daze. She was saying the doctor was coming and that pop would be okay and I said no he’s dead but she kept saying the doctor was coming and I’m telling her he’s dead then she looked at me and said “what’s all that foam on your mouth? So I just wiped it off. When she finally heard me that he was gone she said “just like that? I said yes and she passed out.

So now I have my dead father in the bedroom and an unconscious mother in the living room and I’m thinking what the fuck do I do now? At that moment I have never felt so alone in my life so now I have to call my sister and tell her, when I told her she just said “ oh no” I called one of my parents close friends and my fathers cousin when I told them they hung up on me, everybody deals in their own way. My sister got there a while later with her husband, who we didn’t like meaning me my mom and my dad. He was Irish and really white, I don’t trust people who are really white with their small soft white hands, I’m talking about men. He had no respect for my sister who supported him, that’s why we didn’t like him. In 1996 it turned out she didn’t like him anymore either, she left him. Now she’s happy and really in love which she deserves. We had to wait for the coroner to get there with the cops to make it official, to me he was officially dead no doubt about it he was was as dead as you can get. When they got there to do what they do, I went outside to smoke a cigarette a detective came out and sat down on the curb next to me put his arm around my shoulder and said he was sorry I lost my dad, and then they left. So now my brother in law and I go looking for a funeral home it’s about 3am. We find one seems they are always open for business, death isn’t picky it don’t give a shit what time it is. They come over to get him he’s put into a body bag the guy starts to zip it up I watched the zipper go from his feet all the way up to his face and the last image I had was the zipper making his face disappear and that was it, he was no longer of this world.

My dad was 54 now my mom was a widow, what was I? I was 23 years old, fucking young man. I have a word for it I was lost man fucking lost. My mom never had a relationship after this mostly by choice. I remember her saying she didn’t want to go through what she went through with my dad again, okay. I really don’t have a clear idea of how this affected my sister, my Fathers death. I don’t really know what kind of a relationship they had as father and daughter. I learned that everything can change in a heartbeat or lack of a heartbeat for that matter, his heart did stop beating. We had the funeral and blah, blah, blah, and it was all over the whole episode.

My drinking took over after that, the alcoholic blossomed and I continued until I was 44 years old thanks for the gene pop. But I stopped the cycle of alcoholism in my family because I have no children of my own, so maybe I spared them of having to live and deal with this fucking bitch of a disease, and spare the people who would have loved them a lot of pain. So that’s it, I’m not the only person who has witnessed a parent die in front of them it’s a shitty club to be a member of. I often wonder how different my life would have been if he hadn’t died so soon or my journey is the same with or without him, maybe it doesn’t matter but the thought creeps in occasionally. I am who I am because of my strength to deal with this and other things that challenged my very being, this brought out that strength so for that I am grateful. Thanks pop.

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  • Wald

    It’s painful, yet therapeutic to read, in small doses.

    Wald

    • I can only imagine what it must be like if one really loves ones father. For me, the focus is on the pain of living without one, not losing him.

      • Wald

        I’ve not yet lost a parent, though I came close in April. One of them had a stroke.

        I couldn’t tell you what it feels to lose one. I just know that life will never be the same,

        Wald

        • It must seem like a cruel joke to you when I tell you that I would probably feel great relief if my mother died.

          Hope you will enjoy your parents for as long as you need them.

          • Wald

            Only halfway. I can sympathize because of my black sheep half sister.

            Were she to take her own life, I’m not sure whether I’d mourn or celebrate.

            Probably drinking involved either way.

            Wald