I did not win the biological father lottery. But I got lucky with my second dad, Steve. We lost him 4/2020 to COVID complications after battling Lowy-body dementia for 6 years. Waking up from a major heart surgery in 2014, he gradually became more disoriented, confused, physically infirm and aggressive. Months passed, he got worse, never better. Those were grueling years for us, especially for my mom, his lone caregiver until he had to be placed. Her view? He would do 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.
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 any man 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.