My other dad

As I write this, the man who raised me as a son since I was eight is on his way to the hospital. He hasn’t been able to swallow food or water for days now, and if something isn’t done soon, it can’t get any better. He doesn’t want us kids there right now, maybe he doesn’t want to inconvenience us, but it’s probably because he doesn’t want us to see what the cancer has reduced him to. I don’t think he understands that we don’t care about that.

You see, he grew up in a time when men were judged by their physical, mental and emotional strength, and you didn’t want anyone to ever see you in a lesser state. I’m so glad I don’t have to follow any of those rules, or I’d be failing miserably as a man. If I can’t go out fast, while stopping a stray bullet from hitting an innocent bystander in a driveby, I want all the people I love to be around.

Since he was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer, some ten years ago, he was given months to live. He was pretty down about it, and had kind of lost that fire he had always had. That was until he went to Kingston. While he was at the cancer centre there, he got talking to a lot of survivors, and they all had one thing in common. They were fighters. They weren’t going to let it beat them. They wanted to live, and were going to do what it took to stay above ground.

He came home with a newfound spark, and he kicked cancer’s ass for a long time, right up until this past winter, and he did it with only a portion of his heart. Most of his heart had been destroyed by the radiation in his first battle, and for about the last nine years, he went through countless surgeries, thousands of angina attacks, and I imagine enough pain and pills to make an average man give up and die. He also lost a pile of weight and anger over that time. I watched a man who took life for granted, and seemed invincible turn into someone who realized that life isn’t forever, and should be cherished.

He spent his time after winning that first fight, doing things he wanted to do, mostly with Mom, like yard sales and auctions, but he still went hunting and fishing with the boys every year. As much as I liked the young, strong fellow that I’d grown up with, I liked the new, old guy, even more. He smiled a lot more, and really seemed to have more fun with the simple things. I think that he and I became better friends, and instead of looking at me like that kid that always left his tools in the driveway, he looked at me like a man who had maybe figured some shit out.

I have figured out a lot of things in this life, and he helped me with a good bunch of it. I could tell when he first met my soon to be bride, that he thought I had found the right one. Mostly because of the approving look he gave me, but also because his eyes would get that sparkle in them when he talked to her. God, he can sure be charming when he wants to. I wish he knew that I think he’s more of a man now, than he ever was when he was younger, and no matter what our differences have been, he is the biggest male influence in my life.

I love you Paul,

Chris

20 Comments

Filed under Birdman, Life

20 responses to “My other dad

  1. This post breaks my heart. I love you, baby. xoxo ā¤

  2. Amber

    So sorry that you will soon lose your other dad Chris. This post is an incredible yet simple message of love and admiration; I hope you share it with him.

  3. ruby rideout

    Hi Chris,
    Gerri referred me to your blog today. You write beautifully with emotion tied in your story. I’m sorry you guys and your families are going thru a difficult time right now. Miracles happen though. I hope he recovers from this god awful disease and know there are people out there praying for you.

    Looking forward to meeting you soon.
    Ruby

    • therealbirdman

      Thanks Ruby. I’ve heard so much about you, and I look forward to seeing you in June. Of course I always have hope, but I’m a realist and they are not giving him any more treatments.

  4. Becki

    Thinking of you and your family Chris! I remember as a kid thinking how cool it would be to be a part of your family! All those parents and brothers and sisters! I hope you share this with Paul, even though we think our family knows how we feel, it doesn’t hurt to make sure!

  5. Sue Finlay

    My thoughts are with your whole family. What a beautiful tribute to Paul this is. I hope he gets to read it. Your mom & Paul must be very proud of the wonderful people that you and your sisters have become.
    xo
    Sue

    • therealbirdman

      Thank you Sue. I hope he does too. We’re just waiting to see if there’s anything they can do for him to help him eat and drink. We’re hoping he’ll be able to get home.

  6. Kim crawford

    Beautifully said. Thoughts are with you and the family at this difficult time. Hope you get the chance to share this with him

  7. Kendall

    I read your post; once for me, once out loud for Kim, and again to myself to ensure the lesson is learned.
    Thank you for sharing your story, your family, and your other dad.

    We depend on your guidance on Therapy Thursdays, We plan our future ex-wives with you on Matchmaker Mondays, but its on days like these that we share our best wishes with you, as you do every other day with us!

    Our family is thinking of yours!

    • therealbirdman

      Dude, I love you guys. I love that you encourage me to write, when my teachers tell me to be a truck driver. Give that beautiful wife of yours a big hug from us, and make sure the boys get a kiss from Gerri.

  8. Vette

    I love you. Here if you need me.

  9. Kimmy K

    This breaks my heart but it also makes me cry with happiness in the hopes that one day my stepson, who calls me his other Mom, will love me the way you love your other Dad. Please tell me he will have the chance to read this. Keep your head up and your stick on the ice. xoxo

    • therealbirdman

      He will Kim. If you treat him with half as much grace and love as you treat everyone else in your life, he’ll have to. Can’t wait to see you.

  10. T

    Beautifully written! I hope you get to tell him face to face what he has done for you, who he has made you and how proud you are of him! Sending great big positive vibes your family’s way! šŸ™‚

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