Yesterday, after an accident with a dead pine tree, my father, concerned that his life had deteriorated to the point where he’d be either mentally or physically impaired and a permanent burden to his family, committed suicide.
That we, his family – that I, his only child – would have accepted that burden without complaint is without question. He knew that and so he chose not to involve us in the decision he made about his life.
I cannot change that.
I can say, in my mind and in my principles – those that he instilled in me – that he had every right to do what he did. Everyone does. (No. Everyone should have the right to choose the point where they feel life offers more suffering than it does benefits. I say “should” because our laws, made by well-meaning but misguided busybodies, say we don’t have that right. A discussion for another time.)
In my mind I know those things, but that does not close the hole in my heart. I weep for my loss. I weep more for the loss my children feel and for the things they’ll never share with or know about a man who loved them more than anything else in the world.
That I cannot ever fill that hole is certain, but I have begun chronicling my father’s life as best I can and will be posting parts of it here online.
Here then iS the preface:
When information is no longer refreshed and maintained, it starts to deteriorate. When a primary source is lost, only the secondary traces remain.
Amongst so many other things, I lost a primary source of information yesterday with the death of my father, Phil Glover.
Never again will I hear about the fantastic the pizza from the Bottlecap Inn in Miami, FL in the 1950’s, or about how a misspelling in the local newspaper earned my dad the nickname, “Flip” or how a random automobile license plate and a blizzard lead to my birth.
My father’s story has come to an end, and parts of it has been told, in pieces, over 47 years, to me.
For my entire life, I’ve been keenly aware of the disconnect between first and secondhand recollection of a life’s story. My mother died when I was shy of 3 years old. I have had no memory of her for as long as I can remember, and I know so little of her story as to be nothing more than a paragraph or two on a page, and even that is contradictory.
Virtually, my only source for that info was my father and he either didn’t know, or didn’t care to discuss it much. I admit, I never pressed him on it because I thought it might be painful for him and my mother was really nothing more than a stranger to me. She was a loss to me intellectually rather than emotionally. I knew I should feel it, but I didn’t really feel it.
My father, on the other hand, has been the one fixed-point throughout my entire life. At any point in my lifetime, until yesterday, he was always there for me to reach out to for help, advice or just an ear to bend.
Did I take that for granted? I hope not. I think my dad knew how much I loved and appreciated him, even though neither of us said it very often.
Now I find myself thinking not about my loss, but that of my kids. They lost a man who loved them more than anything in the world and they can never know him as well as I did. No one else alive could.
The kids are older than I was when my mother died, but younger than when my grandparents (who helped raise me after that) died. My memories of them are varied, but I realize how little I knew of them either. My loss.
What memories they’ll hold of their “papa” I can only guess.
This is the start of my attempt to record that which I know about my father.
When information is no longer refreshed and maintained, it starts to deteriorate.
For my kids and for myself, this is the story of my father, Phil Glover, 1931-2012.