I was looking through an ancient Office Depot catalog today, trying to decide how to spend my "Sonny Money." I didn't realize how long that catalog had been on the shelf......it had "advance" calendars all the way up to 2003. Ha! Needless to say, I was not looking in it for prices, just ideas.
In the catalog I found my father's obituary, laminated as a courtesy by our local newspaper. I have no idea why it was in there.......it's not like you use a bookmark to keep the place where you left off reading in a catalog. Reading that obituary was the only way I knew when he died. I can remember the license plate numbers of people I went to high school with thirty years ago, birthdays of people I neither like nor associate with any longer, and my credit card numbers complete with the security code on the back, but I had no idea of the date my father died (it was October 21, 2002). I also had no idea how old he was, but I could have figured that out if I had remembered the year he died (he was 77).
I'm sure that if you asked him, he would say it wasn't the drinking that killed him; it was the sudden stopping. He had called me at school on a Saturday (working on the yearbook) and said he needed somebody to take him to the hospital.
"Why, what's wrong?"
"Daddy, they don't put people in the hospital for being drunk."
I didn't go.
He went to the hospital on a Wednesday (I think) with what must have approached alcohol poisoning. He had a heart attack that Saturday and went into a coma, punctuated by frequent tremors and seizures, and we made the decision to remove him from life support the following Monday morning. My daughter, my sister, and I stood by his bed, along with a step-mother I didn't like (they had only been married a couple of years......Daddy was her fifth husband, I think) and a step-sister I didn't know, and waited. The hospital chaplain had either done that job a lot, or cheated and kept his (her? I can't remember) eyes open during the prayer. Because with the word "Amen," the line went flat.