My Dad Died Today

There is probably no more terrible instant of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man – with human flesh.

– Muad’Dib, DUNE

My Dad died today.

No matter how many times I say it, the full realization of that fact has yet to really hit me. I keep catching myself thinking “I should call Dad and see how he’s doing” or still wondering what I should get him for Christmas this year.

But there won’t be any more Christmases. Not for him.

I’ve been pretty close to my Dad since I was a little kid. My parents divorced when I was about six, and my mother initially had full custody of me and my siblings. A year or so later, I went to live with my Dad and -with the exception of seventh grade- stayed there until I moved to Utah.

That was almost three years ago, and in that time I think I’ve seen him maybe four times. Four times in three years. And now I will never, ever see him again.

The last time I spoke to my Dad for 10 minutes on Thanksgiving. I was about to have dinner with some of my wife’s friends, and we were already running late. I told him I would call him back after dinner.

I never called him back. And that fact is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.

My father, George Fordrung, has died.

No matter how many times I say it, I don’t think it will ever really sink in. I think that somewhere, in the back of my mind, my father will always be the invincible, Herculean man who taught me how to put up drywall, and throw a baseball. Who always gave me shit about being a vegetarian. Who taught me that fighting isn’t a good thing, but when it’s necessary, you fight to win.

Well no matter how hard he fought, in the end, my dad lost.

I don’t know if I believe in God or Heaven, or all of the other little fluffy happy stories they tell you in church school. But if, by some strange contradiction of logic, there is an eternal paradise where the Departed go, I like to think that my Dad is there with his family and friends, waiting to see me again.

Dad, when I sing my Irish songs, I hope you will be listening – because I sing them for you.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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