I ran into a friend of ours last night.
“I was just at a conference in Idaho last week. A guy I had just met revealed that he was a close friend of yours and Matt’s. And then he checked his phone. He looked up and turned to me. “Gerry Tucci is out of the hospital and ok.””
I checked Facebook yesterday and saw a friend had changed his profile photo to a shot of my father and him fishing off our dock in the 80’s.
When the guy who set us up suggested to Matt that he should meet me he famously said “You are really going to like this girl. And you’re going to LOVE her father.”
There has yet to be a person who has met my dad and left unchanged. That phone checking friend had one dinner with my father a couple of years ago. That’s more than enough to know that there are very few people in the world like him, and you are lucky if you get to know him.
This is very hard for me to write.
My dad, my one in a million, tree trunk to our branches dad had a heart attack ten days ago.
He is ok. It scared the shit out of all of us. Shook me to the core. Kept me up at night and made me shiver uncontrollably when I had to relay the information to anyone.
Everyone (I hope) thinks they have the world’s greatest father. But I just might. I can’t convey in words everything that he means to me. Nor can I get a handle on this next phase of life. The one where I am able to express to him how much I love him and dread anything ever happening to him and how I cannot stand idly by without knowing that he is ok. My dad, a fiercely independent 87 year old who lives the life of a 60 year old, resides in his home on Long Island. Alone. He works everyday, certifiable genius that he is. He drives himself everywhere, including in and out of Manhattan and up and down to Connecticut. He goes to Europe on business and does five cities in a week. He is a marvel. But now I’m scared.
How do I let him know of these concerns while still maintaining my omnipresent respect and adoration for him? The concept of confining him in any way is abhorrent to me. But the idea of something happening to him while none of us is there is far worse. I don’t know the answer. The doctors tell him to go back to normal. Do the doctors have the remotest idea of what normal is to my father? Have they known and loved and relied on a man like him every day of their lives? Did they lose one parent so unexpectedly and as early as I did?
I want him to stay with us. Forever. I want him to live the life he wants and so richly deserves, forever. I want him to be indestructible, Iron Man. I want him happy and free as a bird. I want him safe. I want him sound. I want everyone who reads this to send up some kind of prayer, emit some white light, do a rain dance and hug your dad. Something to fortify and inspire and acknowledge.
For his 85th birthday party, my father wrote a highly abbreviated version of the memoir we have implored him to write for many years. His is an extraordinary life. Truly.
Here is the last chapter of that missive: