“I didn’t know him well. Maybe that’s bad to admit, but there it is. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think it’s perfect his last moments were spent in the middle of nowhere, climbing some mountain by himself. A long time ago, it was clear to me that’s what he’d rather be doing, more than being with people. If that sounds harsh, it’s how I felt.
“I don’t think he ever figured out that not everybody was like him. You’ve probably heard the terrible joke he used to repeat – about liking his coffee the way he liked his women, strong and black. Or rich and black. Which applied to everything – whiskey, beer. Maybe just things you drink, now that I think about it. Oh, olives. And chocolate. We can make a list. But I hated his coffee.
“What did he accomplish? I know for these occasions you’re supposed to mention things, but I’m drawing a blank. I should at least have a funny anecdote to share, but again, I didn’t know him well. He was my father. For better or worse, that’s why I’m here now.
“I didn’t like him – it’s not a secret. And he seemed fine with that. Who doesn’t care if their kids hate them? I don’t get it. Remember Facebook? All those posts about how much people loved their kids, and he’d rather die than share something like that. So he got his wish. Sorry. No, I’m really not.
“Don’t complain about what you don’t have, and don’t apologize if you ever get it. That’s something else he used to say. And I’m not here to complain, so maybe he rubbed off on me a little. Of course, I don’t have anything to apologize for either. Maybe someday I can apply that part of the lesson.
“Who writes their own crappy eulogy years ahead of time? Seriously – this piece of paper, I’m not lying when I say I printed it. Although I should point out he didn’t get the date right. And who wants to be planted with a tree seed? If you’re one of those hiking somewhere with that tomorrow, you have my sympathy. It’s supposed to rain – which is crazy, because he did get that right.
“Wouldn’t you think someone who had a bad relationship with his own father would have tried harder? I mean, why bother if you’re just going to repeat the same mistakes? Is that the point of everything, that nobody can ever change? I think he’d love that. He’d love that I just repeated those words. Nobody changes. Asshole.
“So I’m just going to wrap up with exactly what he wrote. For what it’s worth:
“Do your best. Difficult things are worth doing. Don’t rely on praise. Listen more than you talk. Relationships are important but don’t beat yourself up when they don’t work out. It always takes at least two who want to keep trying. Be grateful. Do your best.”