Dear Dad,Happy Father's Day! It's been a couple of years since we last celebrated this day together. Two years, in fact, since pulmonary fibrosis finally claimed your last, gasping breath. Two years since I organized my daily schedule around your needs: something that I have never regretted doing.You can consider this blog post an equivalent to buying a card and leaving it on your grave. By the way, I'd never do that simply because of the waste. Besides, you already know how I feel about you.
You taught me that one should arrange their life around their priorities and that proved the best advice to follow.
I'm living with Karen in west San Jose now, near you. It's only a five-minute drive from our house to your resting place. I'm happy about that. It feels good to be near you again, and it's lovely being with Karen every day. I visit you often, sometimes Karen comes with me, and we place frozen yogurt spoons alongside your flat headstone in memory of all the trips to Yogurtland with the grandkids. I decided that enough was enough, and I needed to be back here with Karen. I made it happen, and I don't regret it.
I'm working a better job, with better benefits, better pay, and a better match for what I do best. That, too, feels good after my two-year stretch in the Purgatory of Orange County. Although I made a few lasting friendships that I'm grateful for, and Jay found his happy place and has forged some meaningful relationships with some great people, the move south was more negative than positive.Grandkids Update:
Jayis currently still searching for his best fit. He's closer now, but still forging ahead each day. Since I left him in SoCal, he's stepped into his role as head of household with no small degree of maturity and strength.
Ben is blending his career in law enforcement with real estate investment; Crystal and the kids are doing well. Crystal set up FB Messenger Kids for Kylie and Isaiah, and now we can text directly.
Bethany is holding down the fort with the four girls once again while "Major" Dave is deployed. He's flying each night and they Facetime each day. I'm on Messenger Kids with Gracie and Kylie, too. It's fun to see how they're learning to communicate in the digital medium.
Jeremy and Marissa are doing well; Jeremy recently flew to Nepal and hiked 17,000 feet to the Mount Everest Base Camp. It's absolutely something Jeremy would do as he's never been one to observe many limitations in life. Marissa is officially a Googler, after much hard work and proving how talented she is (I mean, they could have just asked us).
Mom and Kathy are doing well and working out the boundaries of their intertwined lives. Their recent trip to Europe was a good thing, pushing mom out of her comfort zone for a bit and allowing Kathy to enjoy some time away from the usual surroundings.
Kathy, by the way, is fulfilling the promise that I couldn't make to you. You asked me repeatedly to promise that I would take care of mom for the rest of her life. But given the nature of our relationship, I told you I couldn't guarantee that. But I did promise that I would make the best decisions necessary for her care and well being. When I moved to SoCal, Kathy and Mom started sharing their residences with the other. They do four months in SoCal and four months here, etc.
Happy 50th Anniversary for Apollo 11! Can you believe it's been 50 years since you and your colleagues waived your little American flags inside NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston on July 20, 1969, when the lunar excursion module (LEM) touched down on the surface of the moon creating Tranquility Base? What a monumental career achievement for you and your colleagues. How proud I have always been to say that "my dad put men on the moon."
Robert E. Morris, George Spellman, Dick Manage, Richard Hemry...all behind-the-scenes Apollo 11 legends.
The Last Photo
The last photo of my dad and I together in 2017. I wanted him to smile, but Alzheimer’s Dementia had robbed him of enjoying the these moments.
Later this summer, I'll be getting my memorial tattoo. After you passed away, it seemed like a good idea to get one memorializing you in some way. I sat with the idea for two years, and the timing feels right. I'm planning for a minimalist representation of the LEM on the surface of the moon with the words "Apollo 11 ~ 50th Anniversary ~ To the Moon and Back ~ RM1Papa" encircling the design.
Finally, Dad...I love you. I love you..."to the moon and back" as you used to say to the grandkids and great-grandkids. ~ with love, Barry