Your Father, My Son -- Part II
by David Wainland
My dearest Skylar,
It has been a while seen I have written about your father and because today is his thirty second birthday it seemed to be appropriate.
There is a time the life of any person turns from truth to myth and that usually begins with their funeral. It was that way with your dad. Those that spoke eulogies did so in glowing tributes. Suddenly the things a person did wrong in life dissipate like early morning fog, Shakespeare’s play about Julius Caesar, quotes Mark Anthony as saying of Caesar in his eulogy, “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred in their bones.” Not true, no eulogy speaks of the bad, only of the good.
So the myth begins and the true worth of the man is often forgotten,
Your father is like that. When we honor him in our memory things that now endear us to him in death may have angered us in life. For instance, we laugh at the way your father kept his rooms, his cars, and his house. His world built on layers of clothing, papers, books and candy wrappers, we think of those times with laughter and love. Though while he lived those same habits drove us crazy.
Even today when I enter the bathroom I expect to find the sports section of the newspaper on the floor. When I sit on a couch I search for the loose change he would have left behind.
Your father had a thing when it came to white socks; he never wore the same pair twice. It was a joke to his friends and a source of irritation to his parents. After he died one friend explained it to us. He would say, ”Do you know remember putting on a new pair of white socks and how good it felt? For a few dollars I get that feeling every day.
While he never cleaned his car if he ever met somebody in need, a child or an adult, he was always able to reach inside that debris and pull out a gift for that person that would make his or her day.
He followed a band, “The Disco Biscuits,” the name hardly describes the music they play, and your mother referred to them as “The other woman.” Maybe they were, because his love for music outstripped everything except his love of family. You were his greatest love.
Somebody commented that Jeremy loved to party, he did. But more then party he loved taking care of Kira and you. He worked long evening hours as a waiter and as a physical trainer in the day so that you would lack for nothing,
He was working the late shift in a restaurant on New Years Eve; you were just two months old. You mom brought you to visit him and as he held you in his arms somebody fired a random shot into the air and the spent bullet hit him in the arm, missing your head by inches. It was a little miracle, but a devastating time for him. He almost lost you, but through the grace of God he had you for six more months, and then it was he who died so unexpectedly.
The night we lost him he was partying, “The myth,” but in truth he was celebrating having found himself and finally involved in a venture he felt would guarantee wonderful lives for your mom and you, “That was the reality.”
I spoke with him for the last time the night before he died. I never heard him happier. He had you and Kira and he had the success he longed for.
How do we separate the myth from man? It can’t be done. Through the years the myth will grow out of proportion to the man he was.
Which one will I celebrate? My personal myth of course. The boy that was born in chaos, his struggle for identity, his time in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and the day he obtained Eagle. I will remember him as a freshman and junior varsity football player and as a national champion debater. I’ll remember when he returned from his trips around the world he always had appropriate gifts. He never got it wrong. And finally I will remember the boy/the man who celebrated every occasion with flowers for his mother.
Yes, he partied hard enough to earn the respect of the band. They flew in to Florida from all points to do a special fund raising concert for you and your mom. “Disco” followers stood in long lines to say their own goodbyes and begin the new myths. They even built a website around him, www.jeremyland.net
I went to the cemetery today, the stone was there, he wasn’t. I read a quote the other day that said it best. “We don’t have a soul, we are the soul. We have a body.” His soul has moved on and in part it is in you, my little bit of Jeremy.