Anyone that knows me on a personal level well, or anyone who has read any of my poetry collections, knows that I lost my dad to cancer. I was young when this happened, and by young I mean 20, a junior in college. It happened fast. He was diagnosed by the end of my winter break that year, and by February, he died. When I learned of his diagnosis, I remember walking in the January cold, trying to process the news that my dad had throat cancer. I didn’t cry. I don’t even think I screamed. I do remember how tightly I clenched my fists that hung at my sides as I walked. Yet, I knew something was wrong after he picked me up from college and stopped on the side of the PA Turnpike to vomit. He also thinned since I saw him last. Only a month or so into the new semester, I received a call that I had to come home again because my father was essentially on his death bed, and I remember that drive home with my sister and the emotions that ran through us both that blustery February day, as we knew driving home meant we were driving home to say goodbye to our dad.
Last year, I was asked to write a piece of flash non-fiction for the Schuylkill Valley Journal’s blog for an “Origin of Interest” series they ran. I was asked to write one about my love of the horror genre. It didn’t take me long to start writing. Some of the best memories I have between my father and I involve watching films like Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, and Friday the 13th with him. He took me to Blockbuster many Friday nights, where I roamed the aisles and picked out another horror VHS rental. Beyond that, he also fed and supported my obsession to turn my childhood home into a graveyard every Halloween, complete with mannequins that occupied the porch, including Dracula in a coffin and a bloody chef. He worked wonders with fishing wire.
In honor of Father’s Dad and my dad, I’m sharing again that piece I wrote for the SVJ blog.
To all the dads out there, Happy Fathers Day.