The past few days have been horrible. I've never wanted a cold beer as much as I have yesterday and today. Sadly, my house is suspiciously absent of alcohol--well, maybe I shouldn't say that. There's a bottle of Jack Daniels under the kitchen cabinet (where the hard stuff is kept when we've got it) but I've never drank whiskey and I'm a bit reluctant to do so now. A good while ago, my good friend Luis gave me a small bottle of spiced rum. It lasted a long time, but not long enough as I carefully consider my drinking options at 1:20 this morning.
In the end, I'll forgo the drinks and just type.
My last post was hard to write. This one probably won't be any easier. At this exact moment, I feel like it might be ... like I've reached a point in this heart-wrenching ordeal where I might be able to concisely put together the thoughts and words that need to be said without wholly losing myself to the tornado of emotions that seemed to be so barely contained these past few days.
There have been crystallizing moments. Pin-points in these days that define everything. The crowning moment, so far, was yesterday, June 12th, when we were at the funeral home, wading through the pre-processed, death-management bullshit that was supposed to make things easier but only resulted in layering heaps of bullshit onto an already emotionally fraught and damaging tragedy.
She was trying to walk us through an obituary. A senseless endeavor if ever there was one since a family friend had come by the night before to help with just that problem. Why we didn't just use the one we wrote the previous night, I don't know. She asked many questions in order to craft the obituary. Of course, the main feature of the piece had to be about my father. She started with the obvious, despite the cliché: Charles Krumbine, loving husband and father.
And then she asked for more. She asked about the things he liked and his passions and, well, the things that defined just who Charles Krumbine was.
Talk about an awkward moment.
Don't get me wrong, of the people gathered in that small room in the funeral home, we all knew our dad well enough to have been able to answer those questions, but the fact of the matter was that as stupid and clichéd as it was, a "loving husband and father" was the beginning and end of it, the very long and short of it.
One of the hardest parts about losing my dad is simultaneously one of the very best parts. Don't squirm too much, because it's not as bad as it sounds.
I know my story isn't unique, but it's the truth: I hardly ever got along with my dad. Our relationship could be described simply as "bad". Or even "nonexistent", at times. Two people, too similar to each other, either get along splendidly or will never see eye-to-eye for their entire lives. These are the men of the Krumbine family.
The most recent downturn in my relationship with my dad (both my parents, really) was back in December. The details are irrelevant--as most details seem to be these days--but it's important to note that this was serious. There was no communicating and I wanted nothing to do with them. We COULD NOT communicate and it seemed impossible for us to ever see eye-to-eye.
Time always takes its toll. Some two months ago (at least, it feels that way), I found myself theorizing that what I--and my parents--needed to do, was to wipe the slate clean and put the relationships of parents and children behind us and start from scratch. We needed to get to know each other as adults. This was something that was critically important and we might not have even appreciated how important it was if not for the life-changing events of the past few days.
I won't idealize the relationships that came after this reboot. I didn't suddenly find myself playing catch with my dad and swimming in the pool with my mom on the weekends. But compared to where we were ... well, night and day wouldn't at all be inappropriate as a description.
And when it comes to my dad, which of course is what all of this is about, our relationship had simply never been better.
I last talked to him a week ago, today. He had called me and left a voicemail, asking me to call him back. I had just posted that most recent blog about my brother (the one about mixed Christian signals) so I figured it was probably about that. Post a blog, get a call. Like I said, I'm not idealizing our relationship: he chastised me for speaking my mind, but at least he was a little more open to why I was saying (and writing) these things in the first place.
Anyway, I called him back right away because I was only too happy to argue about Jason's skewed Christian values with the man who helped instill them in the first place. My call went to his voicemail. Minutes later, he called me back and we had what would end up being our final conversation.
It had nothing to do with my blog or Jason's blog or confused values or anything to with what I had thought it was. He had been thinking about an advertising opportunity for my digital consulting business and wanted to encourage me to pursue it. I told him that I thought it was a good idea (it was) but that I wasn't sure if I had the resources right now to actively pursue it. We talked about it for a little bit and I wrapped up the conversation by ensuring him that I would see if I couldn't come up with some ideas on how to make the opportunity work for me.
That was the last time I would ever talk to my dad. Four days later, he would collapse, dead, at the very meal site that was the subject of the advertising opportunity we talked about on Saturday night.
I have not one iota of regret over any of this, because I know that if this had happened a few short months ago, I would have been rooted deeply in a ridiculous anger at my parents and would have not spoken to my dad for months ... the words that were exchanged would have been brief and terse.
In the prolonged, low-point of my relationship with my father, he died on what surely has been the most monumentally highest of peaks. This is no small feat and it is one that I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life.
I said when I started this that despite feeling like I could pull these words out without too much difficulty, I would still probably have a hard time. The tears are now flowing freely.
My father is dead and if I have one regret, it's that I was only just getting to know him as a man and as a friend. Conversely, I am blessed to have lost him at a time when we, in our own ways, had finally been able to express our love for each other. And while there remains much to be said about Charles Krumbine, the truest and sincerest words that define him, inside and out, have already been spoken.
He was a loving husband and father.
The anguished musings of a jack-of-all trades creative professional based out of Longwood, Florida. Find out more about him here. You know, if that's your 'thing'.
Most of my production music is original but if I need something extra-special, I usually get it from AudioNautix.com: