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May 19, 2024

Last updated: May 19, 2024

Welp, everything has changed.

I essentially tossed my old /now page away, moving it to the /then archive I recently started.1

That’s because my life changed quite a bit earlier in the week.

My dad died. 💔

That’s usually a big enough event in someone’s life to warrant a complete rewriting.

In the case of mine, it feels doubly so, as I’ve served as his main caregiver for the last 4+ years. Since January 2020, I’ve managed nearly every aspect of his life, with help from my amazing wife.

Yes, even though he was in an assisted living facility that allegedly provided for his needs (this is the cruel reality—you pay an ungodly monthly sum for basic care, but constantly need outside management/eyeballs/follow ups/advocacy/socializing efforts).

For four years, I would think about him many times throughout the day, checking in via camera, perhaps attempting to reach him by phone, planning my weekly schedule around his ubiquitous doctor appointments and the 2-3 times a week I’d wheel him to the local bar for happy hour. Even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about him, the background stress of managing his life and various ailments was omnipresent.

But no more.

Everything has changed.

Mourning, remembering, and wrapping up

There are countless tasks you have to complete when someone dies. It’s incredible how many things there are to do, especially when you’re already exhausted from the crisis before the death, and then trying to process the finality of the event.

And since there are ancillary tasks as well—we need to help my mom with a bunch of new financial stuff that is triggered by his death—it’s a bit…much. Luckily for me, my wife has taken the lion’s share of these tasks, as planned when this day finally struck.

But even the list of things I’m working on—the stuff that she can’t really help with—feels like too much. It all just sorta sucks. I’m struggling to even build the remembrance site that felt so immediately necessary.

This is my first “close death” and given my central role in his life, and therefore his role in mine, I feel some additional responsibility for the outcome, even though I know full well that I’ve given him many years he wouldn’t otherwise have gotten—at significant expense to myself.

I mean, hell, we got him through his initial health crisis, through a global pandemic, and then through hospice (yes, he graduated a couple years ago)…all while making him the only assisted living resident in the neighborhood that is on a first-name basis with a handful of 20-something bartenders, who refer to him as a “fucking legend.”

He certainly wasn’t “living the dream,” but boy, the outside world certainly thought he was. 

Figuring out what’s next

While I’ll always miss my dad and I’m so glad we had many great happy hours together, managing his life these last four years has been pretty difficult for me.

I’m looking forward to figuring out what comes next. More travel, certainly. Perhaps more writing? Perhaps a foray back into public lands conservation? Perhaps just recovering for a bit, (re-)focusing on our physical and mental health after a rough four years? Perhaps all of these…

I’m not yet sure.

  1. I thought it’d be fun to keep an archive of my old /now pages ↩︎