Memoir Nonfiction

The Sound of His Voice, Mumbled and Deep

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad lately. Not sustained concentration. Instead, passing thoughts. His image keeps appearing to me. His mannerisms. The sound of his voice, mumbled and deep. The pitch of his laugh and the red of his cheeks when he would get extremely tickled from something he found humorous. For some reason, I keep remembering the two of us shooting cans in the creek on Hill Cross Rd. and the smell of the smoke from the rifle as it danced from the barrel into my nostrils, sulfurous and metallic.

He passed away from leukemia in 2009. Even now, three years later, I have not been able to process my emotions fully. In the past I tried. But I learned that doing so inevitably leads me to a level of depression that is unhealthy and leaves me unable to function. There is too much anger that he was taken away so young, so soon, before he could become a grandfather, before he could meet my daughter Annabelle and hold her in his arms — she grabbing at the greying whiskers of his mustache. Too much sadness that clutches.

Perhaps one day I will be able to confront his death. For now, the time is not right. The strength to do so is not within my reach. Though I wish it were, I know one day it will come. I am a man of patience like my father.

With that said, I would like to know more about my father’s life in the way of what only his parents, both still living, and his siblings and my mother and sister remember.  I have put off posing this idea and asking these questions for fear that it will lead any of the mentioned into a state of sadness. My grandparents both had an extremely difficult time with this death and rightfully so, each being admitted into the hospital for spells shortly after his death. Albeit, by letting this chance pass, I harrow that its postponing leaves open the possibility that, should something happen to one of my grandparents, so, too, will cease to exist a connection to my father that I will forever lose and never know.

By prefacing my intent, I hope they will oblige. Should it give them pause in that they, like myself, do not feel they can confront his memory without the attached sadness, I, too, will oblige and be of complete understanding. Hopefully that will not be the case. As I write this, I feel more at comfort confronting not his death but his life which I do greatly care to know about.

My dad at Duke University
My dad with a dog named Gus when he was a leukemia patient being treated at Duke University hospital

2 replies on “The Sound of His Voice, Mumbled and Deep”

I really enjoy reading your stories. As I have watched you grow up, the stories have some very special meaning., especially the ones about your Dad. I look forward to reading more. I am very proud to say we have a great writer in the family! Keep up the good work.

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