The Hard Way

April 3, 2010

Dear Dad,

Five years ago today, a few minutes before 2 am Pacific Time, you died just the way you lived — The Hard Way.   Admitted to the hospital around 6 am on April Fool’s Day, you were in a coma.   You faced death just the way you wanted to — unplugged; no respirator; no life support.   The doctors said you’d live for a couple of hours. You hung on, minute by slow minute for twenty-four hours.   Then you hung on for another twelve. Then, for good measure, you beat Death for eight more hours.   You finally drew your last breath seconds before we changed the clocks to Daylight Savings Time — effectively wrangling another hour from the Reaper.   The Hard Way.

I don’t know for sure how you were with my brothers or my sister as we grew up.   But with me, everything you and I did was The Hard Way. You and I both know what I’m talking about.

You didn’t tell me about your “Navy Days” or your grueling experiences aboard the Boston. You should have.   I didn’t ask. I should have. I had to find out on my own, the hard way.   I started doing some research a couple of months before you died.   Right after your funeral, I started in earnest. Then I started writing A Bird’s Eye View. My original intention was to write an account of your service for my three sons. Guess what, Dad?   When I finally started writing my book, within six months I lost you; the company I worked for was bought out. I lost my job. Oh, and after thirty years of marriage, I got divorced.   And there was that lawsuit thing . . . Rough six months.   But I bore down and wrote through all that turmoil.   Sound familiar?   The Hard Way.

Oh, I meant to tell you . . . some sons and daughters and grandchildren of your crewmates have stumbled onto my book and this website. They’re sending me pictures and documents and such so that their dads can be remembered too. A couple of your crewmates have read it also. They told me they cried.   They told me I did a good job telling it just like they remembered.   Not so many of them left, it looks like.

I think you’d be proud, Dad.   I say “I think”, because you’d never come out and say that. That’d be The Easy Way.   You’d make me try figure it out for myself   –   The Hard Way.


One Reply to “The Hard Way”

  1. Your letter to dad was very moving for me, that is why you are the writer and I’m the computer schmo. 🙂


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