My Father: A Rememberance

Shares

December 20 will always be one of those uncomfortable anniversaries for me: it’s008 the anniversary of the day that my father passed away. No matter how many years have passed, I’ll always wish that I could talk to my Dad just one more time today, but even with his absence, every year is an opportunity to take stock of my life and think about whether or not I’ve become the kind of man he’d want me to be.

When my dad got sick, he left our home in Shelby to get treatment at the VA Hospital in Helena. He came back in November, just in time for the first bumps of chicken pox to appear on my arms. That week he was home, he was my caretaker, putting lotion on my skin, telling me stories, and tying an old pair of boxing gloves on my hands when I wouldn’t stop scratching. The whole time he was dying, consumed by a cancer that gave him unimaginable pain. His last night home we watched football together–just the guys–and he read to me as a I fell asleep. My last memory of him is waking to see him crying quietly in his chair, either from the pain, or from knowing that he wouldn’t be coming back.

The next morning he was gone, back to the hospital, and six weeks later, he was gone forever.

My dad wasn’t a perfect man. He drank too much, and sometimes his ego was more than a match for his ambition, but I always felt that my sister and I were the center of his life. His heart might have been bigger than his head on occasion, but even his mistakes were made out of love. He taught me how to fish, to read, to score a baseball game, and to defend what I believe; he taught me everything I’ve needed to survive. More than anything, he taught me about loving with your whole heart, fiercely. For my dad, it wasn’t worth it to love any other way.

Everything I’ve become and everything I will do is because of my father.

Thanks, Dad.

While I won’t torment anyone with what passes for my fiction writing, below the fold I’ve included a short passage from the short story I wrote about him last year.

He didn’t have a powerful, commanding voice or bring any of the characters to life with vivid accents, but my father was an excellent storyteller. A life spent in bars—on both sides of the counter—had given him both a rich, tobacco stained voice and unmatched ability to make a story out of anything. I can still hear his patient, soft voice in my ear when I read aloud now.

For most of my life, I’ve wished I could remember what he read that night. I’d like for it to have been a richly symbolic farewell from a father to a beloved son or a lesson that he hoped to impart of me before he left. The English teacher I became because of him wants to believe that it was words from a father to a son or Falstaff advising young Hal, but life is rarely that full of symbolic import. Most of all, I wish I could remember it, so I’d know the last words he said to me. I wish that that absence hadn’t haunted me for so many years.

But I fell asleep while he was reading.

When I woke up, my father was still sitting beside me, no longer holding a book, but his head in his hands. I was about to ask him to start reading again, apologize for sleeping through his story, but paused, listening. My father was crying. I wanted to reach out to him, to say anything to make that terrible sound stop.

I wanted to turn my eyes away, but couldn’t help looking at him. He finally saw my eyes, but instead of turning away, he just held me in his gaze, as if trying to store every detail. I’m sure he just saw a sick little boy, wrapped in blankets and the remnants of a fever, but I saw something I had never seen before. In that moment, and perhaps just for that instant, my father, with his comical build, thinning hair, and halo of broken dreams—certainly not all his own, the father that I would never see again,was beautiful. And the next morning he was gone.

If you appreciate our efforts to hold Montana Republicans accountable and the independent journalism here at The Montana Post, please consider supporting our work with a small pledge.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

19
Leave a Reply

avatar
16 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
Mens Fat Lossksi?garniaksiegarniaTony DorlandoAnthony Deweese Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Mark Tokarski
Guest

Wonderful piece of writing, Don, a nice tribute to an important man in your life. It is nice that you choose not to remove the blemishes from him in your memories, but instead choose simply to remember him and love him for all that he was, good and bad.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Don, thanks for sharing. I lost my father a little over a year ago. Memories are all we have to pass on.

uncle billy
Guest
uncle billy

I enjoyed reading this and appreciate that it isn’t easy to share something this personal. I can understand the desire to remember those last words, but it seems that words are often less important than the actions that accompany them. The picture of a sick father reading to his son speaks volumes to where that man placed his value.

Mirtha Lockemer
Guest

There are some interesting points in time on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity but I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as effectively

Maud
Guest

Good to see real expertise on display. Your contribution is most weclmoe.

fwbouetyg
Guest

XM1UEb dilsjjmafvxs

cbkiqfdwrcz
Guest

vebCGn , [url=http://nbxgydfmihlw.com/]nbxgydfmihlw[/url], [link=http://jrmylmlxqamv.com/]jrmylmlxqamv[/link], http://wlujxmtydliw.com/

txcmjn
Guest

mxqxus kxawfmptuyni

lvdezavea
Guest

v64JJG , [url=http://svpbbelcuift.com/]svpbbelcuift[/url], [link=http://vwkonnocwogu.com/]vwkonnocwogu[/link], http://sfpiqbcpgerf.com/

Arianna Giorgio
Guest

*After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.

Louetta Haman
Guest

Hi this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Anthony Deweese
Guest

Generally I’d have to agree with this. Last year when I was browsing at Target I had a similar problem. I eventually to acquire it.

Tony Dorlando
Guest

I love assembling utile info, this post has got me even more info! .

ksiegarnia
Guest

Your house is valueble for me. Thanks!…

ksi?garnia
Guest

you’ve gotten a great blog right here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my weblog?

Mens Fat Loss
Guest

Hey would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

Support Our Work!

Poll

What would be the most appropriate nickname for Matt Rosendale?

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe Via E-mail

0 /* ]]> */