July 3rd, 2004: It was a day that forever changed my life. It was the day that my dad passed away. As corny as it sounds, I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was a Saturday morning and I was on my way to the local trading card shop to play in a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament entitled The King of Games Tournament. As I was walking out the door, the phone rang. I thought that it was Eriopolis, who organized the tournament, calling about something so I went back inside. My mom picked up the phone before I could and was told the devastating news by one of my cousins: my dad had passed away in transit to a rehabilitation center. I quickly called Eriopolis and told him that I wouldn’t be in the tournament today.
We drove to Dad’s house, which was also Grandma’s house at the time, and met up with everyone to figure out what had happened. We knew beforehand that Dad was in the hospital and that he was dying. We were told that he would go to a rehabilitation center so that he could die without all the hussle and bussle of a hospital. We were waiting for him to go there so we could visit him and begin to heal our relationship with him.
You see, two years prior to his death, my bro Jon wrote him a letter saying that we didn’t want to see him until he stopped drinking when we were visiting him. We were sick and tired of him always passed out on his chair and we couldn’t spend any quality time with him. We used to do things with him all the time when we were over there. It may not have been extravegant, but it meant the world to us. Dad would record DragonBall-Z throughout the week (keep in mind that this was back when Toonami was in its prime) and we’d watch it together. We developed a theory about time travel from watching the Cell Sagas that I callled the Tree Theory. The Tree Theory states that reality is split whenever someone makes a decision. That split is called a branch. As a result of the branch existing, it can grow new branches from itself. If someone were to go back in time and change events, they would be adding and subtracting branches from The Tree.
All we wanted was for our dad to spend time with us. We didn’t need for him to spend loads of money on us or anything like that. My fondest memories are of us doing things together that cost us pretty much nothing. Sure, we’ve spent many a dollar and good time eating Little Caeser’s pizza, Dad’s home-grilled steak, or just pizza rolls.
I miss him. I wish that I could drive in my truck to his house or just call him and talk to him about whatever I wanted, just like I used to do. But I can’t. He’s gone, and no amount of wanting him is gonna bring him back.
In some aspects, I am glad that he died. If he were still alive, I don’t know for certain if I or Jon would be as dedicated to playing guitar as we are. I’m positive that I would try to learn to play guitar once I saw Travis’ Zakk Wylde Les Paul at McDonald’s. Who knows? Learning to play guitar from Dad could have been the thing that would have brought us back together after spending two years apart.
To be honest though, I do believe that it has reconnected us. It has opened up our creativity and allowed us to bond even from beyond the grave. While the artist may only live for a short time, the music lives forever. This I believe.
Happy 4th Deathday, Dad!
From your loving son with all of his heart,