Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Of Death, Appendix N, and no Longer Being 12 Years Old

I

 On May 28, 2012 my father went into the hospital. At the time, I didn't know if he would make it back home. He was diagnosed with advanced Cirrhosis of the Liver (he was not a drinker.) The illness caused a massive fluid retention, which filled his stomach and left him unable to eat or drink. The medical team at Shelby Baptist Hospital drained the fluid, only to watch him fill right back up.

 On June 12, his overall state took an acute downturn. He contracted pneumonia, his lungs now joining in with the rest of his body, in drowning itself. By that point, there was little doubt about the outcome. Thursday, the Doctor advised in-patient Hospice care, after my father expressed his wishes not to be resuscitated. I went to the hospital to sign the necessary papers. My ex-wife brought my son to the hospital, to see his grandfather. We left.

 Friday, the 15th, I woke up, got my act together and left to go back to the hospital. I pulled into the hospital lot and as I parked my truck, I received the call. A nurse, a student and the hospice nurse were in the room, the first two asking me inane questions. Curt civility, seemed the most appropriate response to their inability to grok that 10 minutes into my father's death, as I was staring at his corpse, wasn't the most welcoming time to ask me about his tattoos and piercings. Or, if I were his only child and where did he grow up.

 After a few minutes, another nurse showed up and they were then empowered to officially pronounce my father dead. I asked them to leave the room. I wish I could tell you that he looked to be at peace, or something. Actually, he looked exactly like he did the day before. Pallid, drowsy, his eyes half-open, mouth agape, as he struggled for breath. No breath now, though my mind tried to tell me, on a couple of occasions, that his chest was rising and falling. A close inspection disabused it of the notion.

 II

 To say that my father had a large media collection, would be an understatement. He loved books, movies and music, a love he passed on to his son. At the age of five, I was listening to his Rolling Stones, Kiss and Waylon Jennings albums, while reading his Marvel and DC Comics and waiting for HBO to begin broadcasting for the day.

 As I got a little older, 12 or so, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Heavy Metal and the Savage Sword of Conan became my go-to after school reading material. This led to his paperbacks. The De Camp Conan editions. Thieves World. Various and sundry fantasy, science fiction and horror novels. Then, the Direct Sales comics boom hit. Grimjack, Dreadstar, Sable, Alien Legion and many, many more.

 My father was taping damn near every movie that played on cable and building a soon to be obsolete collection of factory-made VHS tapes. A rather large pool, from which to draw my own Appendix N. I would be 14, before discovering Dungeons & Dragons.

 III

 My father got rid of most of his books and comics, several years ago. Then, immediately set about collecting more. A lot of his attention, over the past 15 or so years, was spent on his DVD and CD collection. There's well over 1,000 DVD's and DVD boxed sets, though I haven't taken an exact inventory yet. About as many CD's. 2,000 books? Not as many as he used to have. Only a few boxes of comic books and graphic novels.

I just ran across a copy of the graphic novel of DC's Identity Crisis, which James Raggi posted about, a few days ago. Mr. Raggi says its good, so I'll keep it.

 My father's tastes were... eclectic. He was also a pack-rat. It'll take me a month to go through everything. It's weird. Trying to sort and organize all this stuff, brings back a lot of memories. Being twelve years old and in my father's room, discovering some new book, or magazine, filled with swords, sorcery, rocket ships and horrific monsters. Adventure. Titillation. Ideas to inflame my imagination.

 Except I'm all pensive, melancholy and don't feel like reading, watching, or listening to anything at all.

44 comments:

  1. Gosh, James. You have my condolences. My prayers are for father, and for you and your son as you get through this difficult time.

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  2. I am truly sorry for your loss. I know what it is like, I have watched my dad, aunt, and grandma all die within a few months of each other. Now my mother is sick too. It is sad, and you will be in my thoughts. I am sorry for the loss of your father and hope you and your family will be fine in these tough times.

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  3. My thoughts are with you, James.

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  4. My condolences to you and your family James.

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  5. Sorry to hear that James. You have my condolences.

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  6. May your fond memories of your father and his time with you bring you comfort.

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  7. Very sorry to hear about your father, James. My thoughts are with you.

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  8. I am really sorry for your loss, James. My mother died from Cirrhosis in 2002. She wasn't a drinker, either, but it took her years to convince the doctors of that. I wish I could say anything that would help, but nothing really does. If you do want to talk to someone, feel free to email me at jamesdsmith(at)yahoo.

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  9. My sincerest condolences to you, James. Having recently gone through something similar with my own father but that has not (yet) claimed his life, I have some idea of just what you must be going through right now. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  10. So sorry for your loss James.

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  11. My most sincere condolences. I know how you must feel right now since my father passed away at the end of last October and I always think about him

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  12. It sounds like your father had a powerful impact on your life. My condolences.

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  13. Sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds to have been pretty cool with all those books, comics and stuff. My father passed away in 1992 and was about 5000 miles away, so none of us in the family were with him when he passed. It was a sudden onset of his cancer which he was battling with, so there was not enough time to get to see him.

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  14. I'm sorry for your loss. Look after yourself.

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  15. Aww crap. I am sorry to hear that. Sounds like your dad was a great guy.

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  16. Very sorry to hear James. I know what you're going through or at least something like it. Sounds like he enjoyed life and had a great time with it and the best part was he got to share it with you.

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  17. I'm sorry for you loss. Hang in there.

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  18. I'm really sorry to hear about you losing your dad. I hope going through your father's things brings up a lot of really good memories.

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  19. This was a great post James. Your have really honored your Dad with this discussion of his very positive influence on you. I know you have written about it before, he certainly left you a great legacy. We'll keep reading your posts and be here, across the inter-webs to give you our support.

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  20. I am sorry, James. My sympathies.

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  21. Sorry to hear this. :(
    Hang in there.

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  22. James, you have my thoughts and prayers, for you and your father.

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  23. Sincere condolences, James. Take care.

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  24. Very sorry to hear it James. My condolences to you and your family.

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  25. James:
    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. My father passed away on June 12, 2011. I know what you're going through and knowing that I have friends, associates, and acquaintances out there in the blogosphere has helped me considerably through the last year.
    Hopefully all the good karma, thoughts, and prayers will lift you up.
    If you need to talk, drop me a line.

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  26. Very sorry to hear this James. My condolences and best wishes.

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  27. So sorry for your loss James. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
    Marg and Pete.

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  28. Sincere condolences to you and yours, James.

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  29. So sorry to here about your father, James. My brother (also nota drinker, to the extent it matters) had end stage liver disease but was lucky enough to get a transplant 2 years ago. I remember vividly, though, the physical symptoms you describe and the mental ones that went along with it. I know how it feels to watch a loved one go through that.

    Ditch Identity Crisis, though. Not worth your time.

    Take care of yourself.

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  30. I am very sorry to hear about your loss. You are very fortunate to have a father who was open to all that the genre has to offer, as there are those of us who were not as fortunate.

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  31. Very sorry, James. My condolences to you and your family.

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  32. I'm very sorry for your loss, James. I lost my father to a sudden, unexpected heart attack three years ago. Losing your dad changes your perspective on life. No matter how old you are when it happens, it's one of the final rites into true adulthood. It has the power to change you for better or worse. Actually, make that for better AND worse. Sometimes, it's really hard to focus on the "better" part. Sometimes, the "worse" part feels like that's all there is. Take comfort with your family and loved ones, and share all of your great memories of your dad.

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  33. My sympathies go with you and your family.

    Take care.

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  35. Keep your chin up and take it one step at a time - one day at a time. Will be keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

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  36. I am so sorry for your loss. Remember the good times and keep some of that stuff! The temptation will be to get rid of a lot of it. Resist! You'll want it later. Be well.

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  37. My sincere condolences, James. I hope you can keep it together and live through it. It's not fun, nor easy when a loved one goes.

    You dad seems like he was a guy with a serious appetite for the wondrous. Keep that memory. That stuff is what our dreams are made of.

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  38. Condolences. And thanx for your efforts over the years. Be well.

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  39. My condolences.

    I see your father was a guy who remembered the wonder that makes us dream. Keep that memory.

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  40. Sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like a wonderful collection.

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