Rich dad, good dad

I did not win the biological father lottery. But I got lucky with my second dad, Steve. We lost him this year to COVID complications after battling Lewy-body dementia for 6 years. Waking up from a major heart surgery in 2014, he gradually became more disoriented, confused, physically infirm and aggressive. Time passed, he got worse, held steady, but never got better. Those were grueling years, especially for my mom, his lone caregiver until he had to be placed for safety reasons in 2020. Her view? He would have done the same for me. And he would have. He was a great man, a good husband and a wonderful father. He would move mountains for people he loved, and he was generous with his time and his heart. I wish I could, for just one more evening, sit next to him as we critiqued some bizarre horror movie and he regaled me with one of his weird travel tales.

From the 60s-80s he had thousands of adventures and traveled the world. Played professional poker and spent a year or two driving cross country, camping the USA before it was the hottest millennial hipster trend. He always treated me with love, admiration and respect; totally convinced I was absolutely the best version of myself, exactly as is. When I was an angst ridden, surly, witchy teen, he turned the one thing I loved, extreme horror, into an ebay business of buying and selling rare, limited press books. As an IT genius, we were doing dial up and message boards in the late 90’s before the internet exploded. I could talk to him about anything without being afraid of being judged or hurt. He never thought anyone was good enough for me; so precious and cherished I was in his eyes. Everyone should grow up with a father like that; it makes all the difference.

He wasn’t afraid to express love and affection; in fact, he loved everything sappy AF. Those brocaded cards that go on for 3 pages dripping rhymed love prose? He ate that shit up. Always he would pick up random “finds” from thrifting for me and my mom; a bunny figurine for her and spikey, evil looking silver jewelry for me. I still have a letter from him, written in my 30s, that I can’t read because it’s so unabashedly, starkly loving; I know I’d drown in the ocean of tears it would bring. He lived a full, daring, fearless, loved, lived, life. But god damn do I miss him. The version of him before dementia. The smartest, most interesting, kindest man in the room. With truly terrible jokes and ridiculous triple score scrabble words like qin or qat. I love you Steve. Happy Father’s Day. I hope you’re finding gold and winning Hold Em at some casino in the next realm with Jazz.

2 Comments

  1. Wonderful story. He was a wonderful man, kind, sweet, caring, loving, generous. I dated him in the 70’s after meeting him in a timeshare on Fire Island. He was so great. Some of my most wonderful times were with him. He took me gliding, skiing, snowmobiling on a lake in NY, plays and more. He was wonderful. I have always cherished those memories.
    You were a lucky daughter.

    Like

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