I know this is a toy and comics site but this had to be said.
I have had two fathers in my life and both of them died early. The choices that they made in life caused both of their lives to end prematurely and because of that they have missed out on their family’s lives. While their own life choices have caused their deaths their professions have also influenced their health over the years.
My father was a sailor in the Merchant Marines for years working in the ships’ engine rooms. The dust and debris caused his lungs to fill with chemicals which would later in life lead to lung cancer. His choice in life was to be a smoker which only added to the problem. His inability to stop his own addiction caused his life to end in 1996. I was only 17 and he was my world, my hero. This event would rock and crack my foundation and took me more then 10 years to recover. When he died he was just starting to see me as a man and not a child. Not being able to talk with him over the years I think has been the hardest part. My dad was not average or perfect and I know that, but he was my dad When ever I thought he did not understand me he would do something to prove me wrong. I remember the day shopping to get Metroid then off to a WWF show, the days of going to comic book conventions in my Pj’s then off to McDonalds for breakfast, or the summer when I ran his corner store. All of those times I got to see my dad, my hero, and with all his faults I know he loved me more then anything in the world.
This year I lost my second dad, my father in law. I though when my own dad died I would never call anyone dad again but then he came in to my life and I knew I had found the one man I would be proud to call my dad. He too like my father did things in his life to shorten it. My second dad was in the military and served in Vietnam which would leave him scared for life. Drinking became part of his life and would shorten it with each drink her took. His liver would give out in the first year of our marriage and lead to almost 3 years of worry. The damage that was done was so extensive that his body gave out even though he got his transplant. He died in March and I lost my other father.
My dads never had to try to be part of my life they just were. They never had to try to get to know my by forcing conversations or trying to understand my hobbies, they just accepted them as a part of who I am. My dad would come home from work with an arm full of comics or cards not knowing what he had gotten, all he knew was I liked them. My second dad would collect the Spiderman comics in Sunday paper and give them to me when I came over. In fact after he died I found one he never got the chance to give me and it was one of the first times I cried after he died. It’s the little things I will miss the most about my dads, like having to watch a football game or Escape from Alcatraz.
The reason for this little letter also is to show the anger my family and I face when my second dad died. As part of the military he was supposed to have a military funeral, but did not. After the service at the funeral pallor, we went to the Veteran’s Cemetery, because of the recent melt and rain, was about a foot deep in mud. That is something that is out of anyone’s control and acceptable. Though when we all arrived (people from all over the country) we found there was no military presence, no one to play taps or give the gun salute. We asked the funeral director and he was not surprised by this and told us there was no one to call. The only option was to leave a message with a service for the military and they would have to get back to us. The whole thing was an embarrassment. After the short service at the cemetery we went home, feeling unsettled. After talking with the family, some had noticed the lack of care for the cemetery. We went back to take some pictures to show what shape of the cemetery. It was a disgrace to my second Father and we heard other veterans that day telling their wives not to let them be buried in that place. The place was filled with problems like grave stones out of order, sunken in the ground, and new grave stones stacked up around a dumpster with an American flag buried within. This is not what any soldier should have to be left with at the end of their lives. The following weekend we returned for his salute and taps, and the military did show up but only to a crowd of about 15 as the rest had to return to their lives around the country.
While graves are waiting to be put in you can see how they are stored. I think the flag in the dumpster is the worst of the pictures.
You can see that this is more then muddy ground the graves are not lined up in rows in some parts there seems no order.
I know both of them are up together laughing getting to know each other and smiling down at us.