I haven’t seen or talked with my dad since sometime in the mid 90’s. We had a falling out. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 59, alone – well alone in the sense that he had no family around. He was in his childhood hometown, Placerville, California, and his brother lived in Pollock Pines, and his father in Sacramento. I assume he had friends at the assisted living home he was in at the time, but he greatly valued family, and none were present when he died. I still feel great remorse at the fact that I couldn’t be a better man for not talking to him for years. It goes back a few years, though – our history.
He left mom for another woman in 1976. I was 7 years old, my brother was 4, pushing 5. Our world collapsed on us, and we ended up moving from San Jose, CA clear across the continent to Jacksonville, FL, where mom was from. We flew out to San Jose the next Summer (’77) and visited for a couple months. The next time I would see him would be after I graduated boot camp 10 years later. My brother had to wait until my first marriage in 1991 before he saw dad again.
Reconnecting was awkward after so many years. We barely remembered him. I can’t imagine how that must’ve been for him, our father. He had an anyeurism burst in his brain, and nearly died shortly after he left mom. He changed after that. He was cantancerous and bull-headed. One day, I took it the wrong way, and that was the last time I spoke to him. I’m sorry, dad. Turns out I was bull-headed, too.
He and his second wife adopted a little boy, who I am now fairly close with, although he lives in CA and I in GA now. We both made it to his funeral in ’03, where he met my younger brother for the first time. They both got along amazingly… so much alike, they were.
My blood brother ended up killing himself in 2006, almost a year after being my best man in my wedding to the absolute best woman I ever knew. I miss him terribly. He was my best friend.
Grandpa outlived them both, passing away in 2012 at the age of 93. I got to see my adopted brother again then, and we enjoyed our time together in Sacramento for the funeral.
A couple weeks ago, he texted me a photo of our dad. It looks to be about the late ’80s; about the time he and I first re-connected. Today during lunch I used that photo to practice with my brushpens, and it turned into this. Not too serious an attempt, but better than sketching (as that’s how it all started).
Brushpens, watercolor, and charcoal on pressboard backing.