It was the anniversary of my Dad's death a few days ago... I was a little upset that I didn't remember - Becky had to remind me (it wasn't in the Palm).
Dad deserves more from me then that - I should have remembered.... if it's any consolation, I think of him almost every day. I'll never forget landing in Newark from Dallas on a business trip - I was still in the parking lot of the airport and Shawn called me to tell me that Dad had pancreatic cancer.
Dad knew it too. He hadn't been feeling well for a while, and on a visit to Scott's house he gathered all the boys together and told us that he was sick. He explained that he was still waiting on the report from the doctor, but that he was sure he had "the big C". I don't think he could even say Cancer. I don't think I could. We were all there, kind of looking at him and letting in sink in. Joey wanted to know if he was going to die; one of us interrupted that he didn't know for sure.
Of course, he did. Pancreatic cancer has a 99.9% fatality rate. If you get it, you die - that's what the statstics say... is it that final? The doctor gave him three to six months to live. I can't imagine if that was me - three to six months to finish out your life. Don't waste time...
I had some money saved up and I called Dad. I told him that I wanted him and Joey to go to Disney or something... he didn't accept. With the treatments that started almost immediately - it really wasn't possible to go...
He was living in Cape Cod, MA... he was far away and living with his niece. So, I did what any self respecting Verizon employee would do. I bought him his very own cell phone.
Dad never had any money. Well Dad never had enough money. So, he LOVED the cell phone - he could call his "people" at his will and they could call back. He racked up the minutes and I was nervous about him going over his plan allotment. That wasn't in perspective when I look back. He should have called everyone he knew and...
Looking back, it went very very quick... I made 2 or 3 visits up to the Cape and one of the last ones was with Becky after we were engaged... of course, I had the video that Brian shot of the *actual* engagement and we played it and showed him Yosemite, Vegas and San Fran.
I am aware of my mortality now - more then ever before. I guess that continues to get worse as we get older. To me that is another way of saying: "Do something with your life. Matter. Leave an impact. Live a dream. Act now. Years fly. Scat." I used to say this a lot right after Dad died: "This is not a dress rehersal, you don't get a second shot at this."
Good advice. Still.
Love you, Popps.
Hank Kaine Sr.
October 28, 1939 to June 4, 2001