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.

18 thoughts on “Larry”

  1. Beautifully told, Eric. I feel like I know him, and thank you for sharing. Thinking of you and your fabulous family, love to all.

  2. You, your Dad and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending you strength and energy always, but especially now.

  3. Sorry for your loss Eric.
    I love herring but never had pickled herring, must try it one day.
    Wonderful letter about your Dad.

    Prayers and strength always.

  4. I only have good memories of your dad, my uncle, except for that whole pickled herring thing, YUCK! He will truly be miss. I am happy to hear you are starting to feel more normal, or what ever that means, I tell my patients it’s a setting on a washing machine, hopefully more like you. You all will be in our thoughts. Love you all!

  5. When my father died my overwhelming feeling was one of relief that nothing could hurt him anymore — that he was finally safe and out of pain. The grief came later, but even then it was tempered by knowing he was ready to go. I hope that your knowledge that your Dad is free from earthly limitations and earthly sorrows will continue to sustain you. Sending heartfelt sympathy.

  6. Eric, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your father’s life story – I can feel the genuine love between the lines that you eloquently write. His family memories
    will live on in your life, and give you continued strength in the next generation. I’m sure he was proud of the inspiring way you face your health challenges with dignity and a spirit blessed with love.

  7. Eric,
    My deepest condolences on the loss of your father. Your tribute to him was very touching, and it made me wish I had known him. I am holding a thought for him and for your entire family.
    With Sympathy,

  8. Thank you for sharing your memories of your dad, Eric. I only met him a few times and it was during epic life events, so I didn’t get a chance to get to know him. Your portrait is poignant. Sending my love and hugs and deepest condolences.

  9. Sending a ton of love to you and your family! ❤️❤️❤️ I’m always thinking of you guys, and am thankful you keep us updated with your blog (you are quite the writer, by the way) I am so sorry to hear about Uncle Larry- I always thought he was so funny! – & will look forward to seeing you all soon… I hear it’s going to be Memorial Day in Hildreth! Xoxo— Heather

  10. Eric, I’m sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. At least he can rest easy with such a great legacy of children and grandchildren.

  11. You are in all our hearts, God speed your recovery.
    Love you always, and thinking of you.
    Uncle Griff & Aunt Barb

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