Last Wednesday, December 9, 2015, my dad passed away after a 3-year battle with cancer. He was only 58.
As I sit here and reflect, despite the growing void, I am comforted and amazed by all of the people he inspired and how enthusiastically he lived his entire life.
Even after he began chemotherapy, he continued to work and travel the world, from Scotland to China and all across the U.S. with the same band he’s toured with for over 30 years. He loved what he did as a live sound engineer, and for as long as he could, he would not let cancer dictate how he would live the last years he had on this Earth.
Hearing his colleagues and friends speak and remember a lifetime of great memories at his life celebration on Saturday put a lot in perspective for me.
It’s easy to fall into the routine of the day-to-day grind, but hearing my dad eulogized by his friends was a wonderful wake-up call to live more vibrantly, and with deliberate purpose to find the joy and fun in every day.
As the grieving begins, I am trying to also see the gift he left us, and I think this is it. The gift of realizing how quickly one’s life can end, at any day, but also realizing that you can live a rich, full life, no matter how short it is. In the few days before he passed, I remember him saying, as his consciousness gently surfaced within the morphine haze, “It’s all just about being a good person…” he smiled. That is how he summed up what life meant.
One of his friends said that every time after they had a rough gig, whenever someone would ask him, “How did it go?” he would always reply: “Best show ever.”
He would spend his days off exploring local parks, riding his mountain bike 40+ miles, and taking us camping in the Sierras. He loved to get up extra early in the mornings to explore, go on walks, and get the most out of each day. He kept a box of maps in our garage from over 30 years of travel. Whenever Led Zeppelin came on the radio, he would crank up the volume exponentially.
As a father, he inspired our curiosity. I remember one afternoon, when I was about 6-years- old, he told me he discovered some dinosaur bones in our backyard. As a kid who was obsessed with dinosaurs and anything archeology, this was epic news. We spent the afternoon searching the sand for these treasures. (Years later, I found out he had buried the turkey bones from Thanksgiving…)
In each person’s passing, there is a void. I am feeling it now, and I know it will grow as years pass and I still don’t hear from him or when he doesn’t come home for the holidays. But his departure left a gift. By witnessing the outpouring of love from all of his friends, it has inspired me to make the most of the rest of my life, and to live it as he did: with exploration, adventure, and kindness to others.
I love you, Dad.
See you again one day at that great gig in the sky.