“I cut down on my drinking (hah, from a lot down to pretty much!)
– Note from my dad’s unfinished memoir

We’re taking my dad to Arizona tomorrow. Well, tomorrow Justin and I are driving to Texas. Then Friday, lunch in Roswell (wooo!) and giving my niece a big hug in New Mexico. Saturday: Arizona. Sunday we fly out of El Paso, which is 10 feet away from Juarez, so in case we get shot by a drug cartel it was nice knowing you.

My brother and I decided that rather than Tucson, where he was going to move, we’d rather take him to Tombstone. He wouldn’t want to be in Tucson without my mom*, and since this is more symbolic than anything, we thought he would love Tombstone.

He was really close to this lady at our church named Joanie. She would take him out for coffee at Daily Bread almost weekly (he would always get a big blueberry muffin). For someone who couldn’t drive, friendships like that meant a lot to him, and to us.

When I greeted Joanie at his memorial, she blurted out, “I miss him!” with such sincerity.  It was one of the most genuine things that happened that day, and for that I will love her forever.

Today I learned that Joanie’s son works at my company. Not only that, but out of the thousands of places he could work on our campus, he’s in my department, in my building, right downstairs from me. I went and said hi to him; he looks just like her. I’ll bet my dad gets a kick out of this.

My dad was writing a book about his life story, covering everything from growing up in an alcoholic family to losing 80% of his vision and coping through his faith. I found it on his computer.

I’ve skimmed it a bit to make sure I have the best draft, but I’m going to read it in its entirety for the first time on this trip. This way, my final road trip with my dad will be the one where I learn the most about him.

I don’t think I’m ready for this, but I feel like he is. So, off we go.

*I’m the type of person who still thinks stuffed animals have feelings, so you can only imagine how much I’ve anthropomorphized these cremains.

EDITED TO ADD: Not in a creepy serial killer way; I don’t talk to them or sit them in a chair at the dinner table or anything.


Filed under Sam I Am

5 responses to “Tombstone

  1. Erin T.

    This is the sweetest thing ever.

    When you’re in Roswell, be sure to stop at the spaceship-themed McDonald’s and the UFO Museum just a block apart from each other on Main Street. About 10 minutes east of town is a park called Bottomless Lakes, which I highly recommend visiting for a few minutes at least. It is beautiful. I think you just take Eastern Avenue all the way up the hill to the turnoff, but you better Garmin that.

    Safe journeys. I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  2. Erin T.

    I hope that comment didn’t come off as too enthusiastic for such a solemn trip, although I think taking a long drive while reading your father’s unfinished memoir would make a good plot for your own memoir. You have handled all of this with such grace. Again, stay safe.

  3. Pingback: He Made It | Secretly Stephie

  4. Erin, I thought the same thing. In both comments! I didn’t have a computer in time to see the Bottomless Lake suggestion, but we totally hit up McDonald’s and the museum.

    (And thanks!)

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