I thought we had more time. Nerve damage brought on by neuropathy slowly robbed my father of his mobility beginning more than a decade ago, necessitating the use of a cane initially and walker more recently to so much as navigate his tiny apartment. He was increasingly frail, often expressing fear of falling on his way to the library or grocery store and breaking a hip. Month after month, week after week his world became progressively smaller. Those walks to the library became less and less frequent until they were no longer possible and trips to the grocery replaced with shorter walks to the nearby dollar store and deliveries from friends & family.
As his physical limitations grew though his mental prowess never waned, his offbeat sense of humor keen as ever. He became prolific and refined in his work; writing and publishing two novels, a book of short stories and countless articles & book reviews for alternative newspapers over the last 3 years. He read voraciously and wrote with a ferocity to match. He was doing what he loved to do most in this world and doing it better than he ever had. When the time would inevitably come for him to be confined to a wheelchair I took comfort in the fact that he didn’t need use of his legs to continue his life’s passion; to grow as an author, to express himself artistically, to feel contentment and pride in his children’s accomplishments and the role that he had played in shaping them into adults capable of achieving anything they set their minds to. I looked forward to being both a participant and a spectator in the next chapter of his life, with all that entailed good and bad. Health concerns notwithstanding I envisioned and took for granted that next chapter, without specific content or conclusion in mind. I thought we had more time.
My father Larry Gross suffered a heart attack and passed away on Monday June 15th, 2015 at the age of 61. To his friends, family and loyal readers I say thank you. You gave him more happiness and fulfillment than I can ever put into words, truly. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
In lieu of flowers or donations please consider supporting a locally owned business of any sort, alternative newspaper, artist whose work speaks to you or simply by expressing your personal thoughts as a comment to this post. My Dad would ask for no more and appreciate each gesture equally. Thank you all.