We buried my dad today.

Well, we didn’t exactly bury him today; I imagine at this moment he has either been cremated or will be soon. But today was his funeral and I said my last goodbye to the most decent and wonderful man I could ever hope to know. He died last Friday morning after a stroke the night before. He was in good health, he did everything right. But I guess “shit happens” and we all have to die of something, right? He was seventy-eight years old, not a bad age to live to, I guess. The thing is, he was a very young seventy-eight…and he was My Dad. I was His Kid. And I wanted him around forever to growl at me for not getting my oil changed and to threaten to ground me when I sneaked a cigarette (I have supposedly quit…but dads always know.)

When my mom died two years ago we all thought my dad would die of starvation because she did absolutely everything for him, including pouring his corn flakes every morning. She died one week shy of their 51st wedding anniversary and I’m telling you, never was a couple more in love after fifty years than those two. I worried about him so much back then. But dang, the guy is tough, you know? He learned how to cook almost right away. Until a year ago I worked a half mile from his house, and a couple times a week he’d stop by the store in the evening and bring me dinner – something he’d made that he was proud of and wanted me to try. It was more than just that, though. He worried about me. I was the baby of the family and really, I was the only kid he had who he had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with as I was growing up. When my sisters were little he was working two jobs and going to school at night. By the time I was born he was pretty settled into his job as an engineer for Chrysler so he saw more of my formative years than theirs. That’s not to say he wasn’t involved in their lives because he was, very much so. But my dad and I had a special bond. My sisters bonded with my mom where I never did. I had my dad.

I won’t go into the sad details of the family skeletons of how two of my sisters have declared me “dead” to them since my mother’s death. Suffice it to say this made the most heartbreaking event of my life that much more difficult to bear. My father accepted me entirely and absolutely, regardless of his own beliefs. You see, I’m a lesbian. Worse than that, I’m a democrat. And yet, all he wanted was for me to be happy and secure and healthy. Preferably with a man, but hey, he watched me regain my health and I know he was breathing easily again after that. I can only imagine how awful it must have been for him last year when I was sick, before my heart surgery, how scared he must have felt. He held my hand for twenty years while I was on the merry-go-round of addiction and never took away his love…even when I didn’t deserve to be loved. And God help me, I don’t know why, but that man was proud of me all his life. Dear Lord, I am so proud of him, too…I’ll say again that there will never be a man as truly good as my dad.

He was a Marine, dammit! He enlisted right out of high school in 1946 and stayed to serve in Korea. He loved it; he was very proud of The Corps and his country. I have a picture of him in his uniform that I’ve been looking at all day, the same picture we put on top of his casket after they closed it. Wow, what a handsome man, and I’m not just saying that. Even at 78 he was handsome. He was an opinionated cuss who could hold a grudge without remembering why, but he was also generous and compassionate and intelligent. A fine musician, too. I got my passion for music from my dad at a very young age and never lost it. In fact…heh, I was forbidden from attending the Gala Funeral Shindig after the service was over and I pretty much knew that the Coven of the Evil BitchSiblings would ransack his house to take what they want without asking me if there was anything I’d like to remember him by. So after the funeral, while they were stuffing their faces with deli meat and potato salad, I let myself into my dad’s house with my key and took his banjo. That’s really all I wanted. My dad and I were the only ones who play – I heard one of the BitchSibs say something once about how nice it would look up on the wall as a decoration, and in my opinion that’s just sinful. A banjo is an instrument for creating joyful music, not something for the neighbours to comment on during cocktail parties. Fuck 'em. The banjo is now mine and I will play it and cherish it forever. He has a beautiful house full of beautiful (and useful) things that I could use, since I’ve started from scratch since getting out of rehab three years ago. But I don’t want any of it. I just wanted the banjo. My dad’s banjo.

Oh, screw that. I want my dad back. I just want my dad back. This hurts so fucking bad. I miss my dad so much.

Semper fi, Dad. I love you.

I lost my Mom last week Monday.

It rips us open.

Sooner or later, all Mankind is an orphan. :frowning:
Open up.

We will listen on the SDMB.

What a lovely tribute! I’m glad you got the banjo, and I’m sorry for your loss. Your dad really sounds like something special and you’ve got some great memories to cherish. I wish you strength and peace in the coming days.

A wonderful tribute; I’m sorry for your loss.

So very sorry to hear about your dad. You’ve written him a beautiful love letter. My condolences.

Good on you. Mr. S likes to surf eBay for instruments, and he sees way too many obviously once-cherished instruments that the heirs are most certainly selling off for beer money.

I’ll never know what it’s like to have a great dad. You’ve been a lucky woman.

Fiveroptic, I’m so sorry for your loss and so glad you took the banjo.

Fiveroptic (and Bosda) I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m not fortunate enough to have a good relationship with the one who’ll effect me the most when they pass (my mom), but I still know it’ll downright fuckin’ kill me.

However, for someone to leave that you absolutely love more than life itself, I can’t imagine. I have no real comfort I could add, but I will say may peace be with you.

I am sorry to hear your news. Nothing that I say can ease your pain, but know that you are in my thoughts. Sending supporting thoughts your way.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Sorry to read about your loss. My father will be 87 in a few weeks & lately I have been wondering what I could say as a eulogy when the time comes. I have nothing even close to what you just said here. It sounds like you were very lucky to have such a great dad.

As for how your sisters have behaved toward you, I just wanted to point out that my sister (also in Clarkston) has declared me “dead” as well. Must be in the water…

Fiveroptic, your Dad sounds like he is a great person. I say is, because he very clearly still lives in your heart and memory. I’m sure he’s glad you have the banjo now.


Sorry to hear about your Dad. Remember him always. While you do, he will never really be gone.

Semper Fi!

Very sorry to hear it, Fiveroptic. I know what it’s like to lose a parent, and I hate that anyone has to go through it. Stay strong.

What a lovely tribute to your dad.

I’m so sorry for your loss. Play that banjo, and think of him.

Thank you for sharing your Dad’s story with us. I’m so sorry for your loss. Please come back from time to time and let us know how you’re doing.


It was wonderful to read about his life and his personality, especially from someone who loves him so much. It’s been nearly a year since I lost my grandfather (a WWII hero) and I’m still so fiercely proud to be his granddaughter. It’s hard when a good man, in every way, leaves us. It still hurts like hell.

I hope you can continue to share your memories.

I’m sorry for your loss - and glad you have your Dad’s banjo. I hope it brings you comfort in the days ahead.

Wow. I’m touched – maybe a little bit floored – by the kindness you’ve shown me, a relative stranger. No, wait a minute…actually I expected nothing less from you guys, which is why I saved my pennies and finally ponied up last October. At this time when my heartache is almost palpable, I’m finding that small, simple kindnesses really mean a lot.

I was thinking about when I was a kid, must have been five years old because I had just started kindergarten when the Detroit Tigers won the '68 World Series. I didn’t know much about baseball but I just had to learn how to play because everyone in kindergarten was talking about it. “In the spring when it’s warmer,” my dad promised, “I’ll teach you how to play.” All winter long I bugged the heck out of that man, asking him when it would be warm enough that I could learn how to hit a ball. Finally spring rolled around and we went outside…and indeed I hit my first ball. Unfortunately, it was my dad’s. I mean, I really nailed the guy in the nuts with the bat. Accidentally, of course, and I felt absolutely awful about it (although I’m sure he felt worse.) But here’s the coolest thing about my dad – the very next day, when he could stand up straight again, we were right back out there taking up where we left off. Except this time we concentrated on catching and throwing.

You sound like an absolutely amazing person Fiveroptic, even going all the way back to age 5. :wink: I’m sure beyond doubt that your father was incredibly, wonderfully proud of you. And you should be too. Because reading your posts evoke your dad for me and it would seem that he raised you exactly as he felt he should and that you embody his spirit.

Terrifically beautiful.