“I remember the day my father taught me how to drive a stick shift. He pulled up next to a literal cliff and began casually giving me instructions like we weren’t parked next to a fucking cliff.
My sailor mouth? That’s thanks to him, a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, where he lived more adventures in his 29-year career than most of us do in our entire lifetime. He earned a Purple Heart fighting for our country.
My most interesting man in the world.
He taught me blunt humor via many hilariously inappropriate Irish jokes, often told in hushed tones so my mom wouldn’t hear. An author and former newspaper writer, he taught me how to write and use my imagination. He taught me how to love, and he also broke my heart by breaking his own. A heavy smoker, he suffered several heart attacks and lived with COPD. I held him and watched him let out the last breath of the grand adventure that was his life, and I was transformed back into a little girl. Our lives pulsed between my panicked attempts to wake him up.
‘Dad?’ Us flying kites in a deserted canyon.
‘Dad?’ Working on our boat and him calling me his Second Mate.
‘Dad?’ A Black Belt in Karate play-fighting with me, and ultimately pissing me off by laughing as he expertly diverted my punches.
‘Dad?’ Him walking me down the aisle even though it knocked the breath out of him.
‘Dad?’ Him holding my son, a moment I wasn’t sure he’d live to experience.
He lives on, a gritty voice in my head. ‘If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.’ I hope he’s pleased by my choice to do the latter.”
Serena Dorman, Mommy Cusses
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