My father died the other day. It happened during a college football game we were watching on television. We were so nervous we couldn’t even eat. The end result turned out to be not what we wanted.
For a couple of days after that game, dad wasn’t feeling good and ended up having a stroke. Fortunately, it happened almost 12 years ago after Texas beat USC 41-28 in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. But what happened then definitely taught us a lesson in perspective.
Forward to November, 2013 when my father had to be taken to the hospital with congestive heart failure. The doctors prescribed a smorgasbord of medications and told him he had a year to a year-and-a-half to live — and that’s if he followed a strict diet without salt or sugar.
In the spring of 2014, I moved to Carson City to be with my father and to be honest we didn’t do too good of a job of following that strict diet. But what’s the point of living if you can’t live. My father still ended up living for nearly four years after being told he only had a year to a year-and-a-half left.
I know it sounds self-serving, but I would like to think the fact I moved back to be with was a major reason why he lived longer than expected. As a matter of fact I know it.
As an adult my fondest memory of my father was sitting with him at Wrigley Field.
And I have many memories of my father as a kid. I can remember when I was a kid when my father taught me how to catch a flyball for the first time and how excited I was. He probably didn’t remember. BUT I REMEMBERED. I remember the Sunday when he took my mom and I miniature golfing because he didn’t think he was spending enough time with us. He probably didn’t remember. BUT I REMEMBER.
One time I was sitting on the floor in front of him playing with a ruler and whacked him by accident pretty good. He grabbed the ruler from me and started to whack me. But he stopped, understanding it was an accident.
I remember when I struck out to end the game with my team down by one run with the bases loaded and two outs. I started balling like a baby. My dad told me it didn’t do me any good to cry. But not in a macho, no son of mine is going to cry type of way. More like there was nothing I could do it about it now, crying isn’t going to change anything and it’s time to move on type of way. Maybe that’s where I get my perspective.
During a season in which the San Francisco 49ers were actually having a good year, they lost an important game in overtime. I went into my bedroom to cry. My father came in and I thought I’m going to get it now. But he was there to comfort me.
At the end of his life, it was my turn to comfort him.
My dad died the other day. I’ll miss him.
— Charles Whisnand