It’s no secret that I’ve been purging lately, cleaning out physical and emotional stuff. At one point, Aaron said to me, “Mom, I’m somewhat like Dad. I don’t like to throw things away either. What if you get rid of something really important?” My parenting theme the past two weeks is that we don’t need stuff when we have memories. Today, I am remembering some Daddies.
My Dad, Bill Blose, was like no other. His laugh and exuberant spirit would light up a room. We couldn’t go anywhere in town without someone knowing him, and as a little kid, I thought he was famous. We could be on vacation in Colorado, and he would be talking to someone like he had known them his whole life. “Does Dad know Flo, the waitress?” “Of course not,” Mom would say. He sincerely wanted to know about other people, and he wanted them to know about his family. He trusted people, at times, too much. When questioned about his trustworthy nature by Mom once, he shrugged and said, “I can look myself in the mirror, but I wonder if he can too.” He had seven girls and never wished for a boy. Whenever he was asked about the son he never was granted, he would crinkle up his eyes in his typical manner and say, “If the good Lord thought another man was needed around here, he would have sent one!” He showed me what I wanted in a man: one fiercely devoted to family, fearless, strong, loved by everyone, kind and affectionate. I loved catching glimpses of him hugging Mom and stealing kisses when he came in from the farm while she worked on dinner. I wanted a man like that! I got most of that from Tony, but I would often tease him and say, “There are two people that I would want with me in a deserted alley. One of them is my Dad and I am sorry to say that the other is not you, but your friend Kevin.” Tony would say, “Yeah. I want Grandad and Kevin to protect me too!”
When Tony was sick, I started a Caring Bridge page so I could keep friends and family informed. Tony and I read every post written by people from all over the country. There were literally tens of thousands of visitors to our page. One of my favorite posts was written to Tony by his friend Kryss Shane three days before he died. I read it to him, but he was sleeping quite a bit at that point. I’d like to think he heard it, and I printed two copies for Aaron and Lauren to keep. Kryss granted me permission to share it with you and I feel it’s appropriate for Father’s Day:
Hey Tony! I just wanted to add some thoughts to this guestbook. I’m not the religious sort, but you’ve been added to the prayer list by the staff at my office and by the senior citizens who are my clients. The way I figure it, it’s never bad for a musician to get shout-outs in NYC, right? I think about your wife a lot, but I think about your kids most. I think about how you are probably worried about them being without you and how your wife probably can’t imagine raising them alone. i hope you’ll both have the opportunity to realize that those things won’t happen. Kids are resilient but also have wonderful memories. While the difficult parts will will suck, of course, the part that will always remain is who you are to them. Every moment you’ve shared, every lesson they’ve leaned by watching your actions will remain with them no matter where either of their parents are. Sometimes people think that having two parents means literally having two people who live in the same house who sit at the same dinner table. Most kids don’t have that. Many kids never meet their fathers or live with few positive memories of their biological male parent. Many sit on steps waiting for deadbeat dads who never come, many listen to moms who cry over how alone they feel without a partner’s help. Your kids will never have that. Your kids get to spend their entire lives with heads and hearts full of memories of their dad. They get to fill their ears with CDs/MP3s (or whatever new thing they create next )of the soul of their father by way of music. They get to recall the hugs, love, happiness and safety he brought to them. And when they hear their mother cry, it will be a reminder to them that love is real and that it transcends all space and time. They get to grow up wanting to find their own love and not being willing to settle for less than what their parents had. I can’t imagine the stress you all must feel and the decisions being made that no one wants to make so young. I can’t begin to assume what that tastes like. What I do know, however is that there are future children who will be born to yours, who will hear stories and music from their grandfather. They will know love and feel love because they were taught how to parent by two amazing people. They will have each other to lean on in difficult times and to share the recollections of the goofy things their dad did when they were young. And your beautiful wife, made gorgeous by genetics and by the love shared with her soul mate, will get to watch it all, will get to see you in them and in their children. As I said, I’m not the religious sort and I don’t know what religious books say about these things. I am, however, a social worker and a human, and a person changed by the few times we’ve been in the same room at the same time. I can’t back this up with scripture numbers. I can speak from what is already clear; who you are and who you always have been, lives in the hearts of those who are lucky enough to love you and to be loved by you. I hope today is a day of peace, of a moment to rest your heavy hearts, and of the awareness of how loved you are by numbers of people far greater than you’ll likely ever realize.
Today marks two years since Tony’s passing, and it’s so cliche, but it’s true that time heals. I had a yard sale today and I put out some of Tony’s jeans to sell. As I was setting them down, a guitar pick fell out of a pocket onto the sidewalk. It made me smile, but I didn’t need to keep it as a reminder of what I had.