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Remembering my Stepfather

…whom I choose to call Dad.   I’m lucky – I got to have two fathers.  My second one showed me how to be honest, gentle, gently pursuasive, non-confrontational, silent before speaking.

I’m writing this post via Livejournal because I don’t think it belongs on my geeky blog.   Its too personal.

Anyway.   Dad died on Tuesday.   I was driving up to be with the family.   I could have left home sooner.. I could have left Monday night.. I could have left Monday morning … but at the time, he seemed very stable, there was no rush.  But, as I drove, I got the call that his numbers had tanked, and then I got the call that they were waiting for two more people to arrive.. and then I got the call that he was gone.

I cried during the drive.  I was also very numb during the drive.  It was like.. i could see my body doing the driving, but I couldn’t feel it.  Nothing was real.   I told the lady about it at McDonalds as I picked up lunch.  She smiled and took the next person’s order.

Some detail on him.   He got cancer several years back .. 2005?  Chemo worked, but left his heart running at 10%.  The numbers are all wrong, but focus on the intent.   He got accepted into an experimental? program, got an LVAD – a heart pump.  That kept him going for a strong 5 years – which he put to good use.

He got to spend time with his grandchildren, who all got to know him. 

He taught some of his grandchildren how to play Bridge.

He became a Daddy to his son’s wife – she who left her whole family behind in India, who needed family here.

He wrote incessantly – a Family history, about LVAD’s, about Bridge. 

He became the primary article writer for a political organization (North American Punjab Association?)

Then, all of a sudden – things didn’t work.  Turned out, a clog had formed (lots of clogs forming these days in LVAD’s) – which lead to things getting weaker.  They tried to supplement, get things strong enough to inject some clog removing stuff – but things didn’t get stronger, and they realized they couldn’t keep him.    So, they let him go .. turned off the machinery that gave him some extra years.   He passed almost immediately.

I’m here at my mother’s right now.   She’s doing .. better.  Lots of phone calls, lots of people to talk to.

I got to go through all of Dad’s writing – on the computer – organize it, preserve it, make copies for all the kids (5 total).   It took me a full day, one document at a time.   100+ megs of word documents, mostly text.  

Amongst that, I found example after example of him writing on behalf of other people.. using his political ties to helpful ends.  One political asylum here; one land grant case there; vouching for people.   Good man.

He had also asked me to help him, once.  He had written a family history – he wanted to make it look better.  He had pictures that needed to be inserted, and .. it needed some maps and satellite photographs and various things to finish it.   I never did get around to helping him with that, while he was alive.

That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow.   I don’t know that I know enough about the content to figure out which chapters which photographs go with .. but I do know something about page layout and prettiness.   I’ll be trying out for the initial layout, see how that works.. if the family approves it, I’ll continue it; and ask for help in figuring out what additional content (pictures, which he had already scanned) to add to which chapters (several of which have phrases like “insert picture of statue here”).       Its not a one day task, but I hope to do enough tomorrow to determine if I should continue with it or not.

There’s a service at the local temple here on Sunday, but mainly, there’s going to be a memorial service in March for him in Columbus.   (He donated his body to science, so no visitation or funeral).  

Good man.  I’m going to miss him.   And his stories.

God, I hope I can capture some of his stories.   “Sunny Beta.. did I ever tell you about when I met Gandhi?”   Perfectly paced storytelling.

I think I have audio of him teaching me how to make Chai.   I’ll post that at some point. 


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