His name was Larry, not Lawrence or any other name where Larry would be a nickname. He was born to a Army Air Corps flight engineer and a hairdresser in ’46, to be followed by a sister a few years later. He was a senior in high school when Kennedy was shot, enlisted into the Army after high school and served his time in Vietnam as a lab technician in a MASH unit. He settled down quickly after returning to the states, marrying my mom and raising my brother and myself for a few years until my mother served him divorce papers.

He had another chance at married life and fatherhood, marrying my stepmother in ’80 and allowing both my brother and myself to live with them before deciding on having children of their own. He loved his kids and always found room for them in his house and his heart.

He could party — he could always eat more than me, and (until recently) could drink more as well. He taught me to always be punctual, that you can’t be a friend and a father to your kids at the same time, that pickled herring is delicious. He was fiercely proud to be a Vietnam veteran, something he felt he had to repress during my childhood. He had a quick wit and was able to sling out zingers as long as he could talk. He shared his passion for models with my brother and myself. He knew his way around complicated electronic circuits, despite not being able to tell the difference between red and green wires. He could build anything out of wood. He didn’t like email, he preferred to talk to you directly. He was NOT a fan of Obama. He loved to hunt quail and pheasant and fish with good friends. He was a Bud man.

Larry died quietly this morning, in his sleep with my stepmother by his side. He suffered from a lot of complications at the end, mostly originating from the fact that his liver wasn’t working the way it’s supposed to — it wasn’t working much at all, really. I repeatedly offered to give him mine but he always refused. My wish in these last few months was for him to not be in any pain or discomfort; knowing he is free from these earthly limitations is what keeps me upright today. I can now redirect energy and get my own self back to whatever normal is for me these days. I am about out of the woods as far as the effects of radiation therapy are concerned; my weight is up, I feel better with chemo started again. I keep my father’s spirit close as I work on my own health and get stronger again.

Please spare a second and give my father a thought – he’s half the reason I’m here today. I appreciate your energy and prayers more than ever now.