Friday, February 6, 2009
I wrote this on February 15th, 2007. My dad had died on Valentine's day, less than six months after my mom. I couldn't believe I had to go through this again. Life always seems to work this way, but once again, we had to push my dad's funeral to the following week because it was Old Towne Orange's "Annual Antique Faire" and we all had to work. I also couldn't believe I was talking my now 5/12 month old Riley to yet another funeral! Thanks Mr.Moore! (he would laugh at that comment)
That was my dad. Usually the introduction of “this is Mr. Moore” would come up when he was having a run in with someone or was pissed off about something. Honestly, Mr. Moore could be the most obnoxious man on the face of this earth! He was an interesting guy and even up until the end he never ceased to amaze me. At 86, he managed to escape from Assisted Living to walk blocks to a liquor store to buy a can of cat food and a Snickers bar. Least us not forget, he had about 150 cans of cat food in his room! And when he finally had to go to the dreaded 2nd floor, the Alzheimer’s unit, he was in full form. I remember the day about a month ago having lunch with him and the other patients. He was mad and would look around at everyone and tell me how he hated everybody there. I would politely remind him that he was being rude and how would he feel if someone said that about him. Always quick with a response, “I don’t give a damn, I hate them all”. As lunch arrived, my dad reminded me that he could “beat the hell out of everyone, he could take them all so they better not mess with him”. When the old guy sitting behind him smirked, I was hoping my dad didn’t hear him because I was REALLY afraid he WOULD beat the hell out of him!!
My dad could fix anything. He would think about it and find a way to make it work. I remember when I was in college over in Fullerton. I had a VW bug and the clutch went out. So, out drives my dad, looks at the engine and ties a string to the broken piece in the engine and runs the string through the window so you could shift with the string instead of the clutch. I married a person that wasn’t too handy at fixing stuff. My dad put together swing sets, bikes and did a lot of home repair. Dave hated and probably still does, spiders! The thought of going under the house was terrifying to him, although it was hysterical to my dad and me! My dad found great humor in making fun of Dave, but he really loved him. Right before my dad died, he was talking a lot about Dave. He said he felt sorry for him because no one ever taught Dave how to do “stuff”. He was telling me over and over how Dave was like a son to him. I know when Dave and I divorced it was hard for my dad to accept and I think he still kind of missed Dave.
My dad found great joy in his grandkids: Brande, Katie and Bryce. You can imagine how thrilled he was when I had a boy! We named him Bryce Patrick, after my dad. My dad had retired when we had grandkids. And in the early years he really enjoyed them. He would play with them all and let Brande and Katie take turns sitting in his lap while he drove his VW bus, yikes! He was always excited to let Bryce build stuff. I remember the day we were moving him to Assisted Living. We all drove back to the house for a second load of furniture. Bryce and Justine were a little late getting back and when they finally got back to the house, Bryce had a bag from the Von’s pharmacy. He told me that Grandpa told him to go pick up the pain pills, bring them back to him, and whatever Bryce did, DO NOT TELL YOUR MOM! My dad also loved pain pills.
The last couple of years have been a challenge. My dad and I spent a lot of time arguing and yelling. The man made me ABSOLUTELY insane. Even when I knew it was the dementia/Alzheimer’s, it was still really hard. But many times during those arguments I was able to end it with, “I love you”. I know he heard me, he just could never say those words back to me, which I accepted because that just was the way he was. The one thing that made him smile, the one conversation that always warmed his heart was when we would talk about Riley. He would tell me, “I remember that baby”. He couldn’t always remember “whose” baby Riley was, but he was happy none the less. I also think he is happy now that I was able to tell his “big ass doctor” that there was a reason when he was in ICU that he kicked his feet and legs. He was pissed off and didn’t want to live his life that way. In the end, that was his way of being Mr. Moore, mad as hell! And I KNOW he is proud of my sister and me for helping him get out of the hospital so he could die peacefully and be with my mom. She was his life, his reason for living, for getting up each day. As I said before, my dad could fix almost anything. He just couldn’t fix his own broken heart.
My dad, Mr. Moore, was such a huge part of my life, for the good and the bad. There will be no more phone calls, “Susan, this is Dad and I have NO cat food”, even if he really did have 150 cans. It is still weird for me to check my answering machine and have no messages from my dad. I know though that Grandpa is happy now, he’s with Grandma. And you know, he is probably watching us all right now and saying,
“WHY ARE YOU ALL JUST SITTING THERE LIKE A BUNCH OF DUMMIES”
That was my dad, Mr. Moore. I’ll miss you!