Friday, January 20, 2017
Shocking Day One
My cell phone made a bit of noise as we were checking in so after we were settled and the food was ordered, I checked to see who left a message. It was Michael's mom. I said, "It's late there. Who died?" Michael's mom goes to bed early, lives a three-hour time difference away so I didn't feel good about it.
I listened to the voicemail. It was Michael's sister, who lives with his mom, with really bad news. She called to tell Michael that their father had died of a massive heart attack. Now, if you don't remember, Michael's parents had five children before they were 21-years old, he left and never saw the children again. It was when computers happened and I tracked him down in New Mexico twenty years ago that Michael first met him. When Michael hopped out of the car, his dad's first words to him were, "What do you want?"
That, in a nutshell, was this man. After three meetings through the years, Michael was done. The man had huge issues and Michael later thanked his mom for leaving him as he would have been a miserable parent. He had five other children, all of whom had nothing to do with him.
So, we are in a fancy restaurant on a vacation and this news set Michael back on his heels. Tears welled up in his eyes. He fought to control himself. I offered to talk with the waiter and excuse ourselves. "He is not going to ruin our night that we have been planning for weeks." Michael knew him. Settled with him. Nothing left unsaid. Still, it was a shock.
Michael motioned to the waiter, "I just got word that my dad died." The waiter asked if we needed to leave. Michael responded, "He was a son of a bitch but it is a shock. What I ask is if you could bring me a shot of a strong bourbon?" Done. On the house.
Later, when we returned to the hotel, he phoned his mom and they talked. The next day, his sister Anna and her husband Doug joined us at the hotel for the night so the siblings were able to talk about their dad. It allowed them both time to express all the emotions related to him, both good and bad.
And that was just day one. Day two, I had an unexpected visit to the wonderful hospital just two blocks away from the hotel! More tomorrow, including lots of photos.