75 votes

Tomorrow I bury my father and I don't feel like it.

Get a haircut. Pick up the dry cleaning. Arrange for car service. Make sure the animals have food. Tell the clients they have to wait. Watch people moving up and down on stairs, escalators, elevators. How can we spend so much time on elevators and not be elevated? Why do we call them escalators when 50% of the time they go DOWN? Shouldn't those be called de-escalators? People zooming across the land in cars, trains, they zoom in trains under ground, we zoom about in the air.

What's the point of going someplace when all you are gonna do is return to the point you started at?

Buy a book to read on the airplane. Pick a topic. What am I interested in? How about total avoidance of reality? Do they make a book like that? No? Why not? Wait don't tell me, they avoided writing it.

They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I trust my credentials as a total wimpasaurus are certified because I don't feel like going anywhere and I don't really feel like doing anything.

I'm told my "father", the great man is now a small pile of ashes. He's the first in our whole family history to be cremated. Pretty radical departure from tradition. Our "bones are supposed to lie with the bones of our ancestors" but what's the point now? I'm going to travel about 3000 miles to let people tell me they are sorry. Why are you sorry? You didn't do anything wrong. Nobody did anything wrong. Some problems have no solution. This isn't an equation, it's command line.

cat MyDadsLife.txt > dev null

All the sudden I'm a 47 year old child and I'm doing everything for the first time--without my dad. First time waking up without my dad. First time brushing my teeth without my dad. He taught me how to do this the first time when life was all about first times and now it's all first times again. How does that work? Well it just did. It's like coming out of the bathroom to find somebody repainted the whole house. Same house, totally different colour. Hey wait a minute here...is this another joke?

What is deadly serious to a family that spent so much of our time in laughter? Think I go off on a tear sometimes? Man you should have seen us together. All the sudden I can't remember what we were laughing about but it was pretty dang funny. We used to pray together and sing together too. Did most everything together.

My sense of humour leaves many people flat but pop always laughed at my jokes (hint: I'm very seldom not joking, even when I'm serious there's almost always a wink or a goose-you-in-the-ribs deal going on). My remaining brothers, we're coming up with jokes. How do we contrive to get a whoopee cushion under the pastor's chair seat? My brother Kev says he wants to sit in the back and at the most solemn moment rip open a bag of Doritos. Crunch crunch crunch nom nom nom nom.

Spent a good part of my life trying to impress him and live up to his example but what's my example now? A Mason jar full of ashes? I dunno. I have never done this before. Without my dad. And all the sudden it's just not as fun as it used to be. I guess that right there is a legit problem. Somebody once told me the very last sound that this entire universe will hear will be the voice of a human complaining about it. I guess I still feel somewhat compelled to modify that eventuality, I'd like the last sound emitted by this universe to be the sound of human laughter.

I am very sorry for those who's lives seem full of pain and suffering. I don't know why it has to be so. Another thing, my dad's passing was anything but sudden and I had lots of time to "prepare" and as a spiritual counselor, I knew that no matter how prepared I thought I was, I'd have to deal with it as a new phenomenon and I kinda hoped I would bear it with some modicum of dignity. Well so much for that. But at the very least this makes me somewhat more qualified because now I can more truly relate to the suffering of others. And in some metric of which I have no understanding, I'm a little bit grateful for that. And all the sudden I'm aware that unlike other deaths, untimely or tragic deaths that made me angry and shake my fist to the heavens and say WHY GOD, WHY? this time I'm not in the least bit angry. Pop lived a very full and long life. It's not tragic, it's as natural as sitting down. On a cactus.

Some author dude, I think his name is Sherman something or other once wrote "there are no absolutes in human suffering; things can always get worse". At the time when I read that I said to myself "now here is a man who knows what he's talking about" but now I consider how for me this is un-worst. This is way un-worst. It's been worser. The pain I am about to endure is gonna be excruciating because I got a pinched nerve in my back and I dread that airplane ride.

Wells I guess that's all I got to say. Now I gotta travel 3000 miles to let people have their say and they will say things like "sorry" and "what do you say at a time like this?"

That's what you say at a time like this and know what? It actually helps. It's very kind of you. Cause now I understand the sentiment behind the words, the words are inadequate but the fact that you care means a whole lot, it means everything, the whole world right now.

-Smudge Pot

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Yes, I agree..

Talk to him !


Sorry to hear brother, thanks

Sorry to hear brother, thanks for taking time and giving me a quick chat yesterday when you were going through a lot. I hope there's a lot of laughs, good times, and peace for your family moving forward.

a very nice tribute...

...mixed in with real emotions. It's one of the very few times in life where everything changes - a line has been crossed - you can't go back. I had that feeling when my wife and I were leaving the church after having just gotten married - we had crossed a line that could never be "uncrossed." Having a child is another. And having said goodbye to both my parents - my dad more than 18 years ago - it truly is the "end" of something that can never happen again.

So it is with each day, and each moment, as well.

Thank God that this life is temporary. Those tragic moments will not occur where we are headed one day. The joyful moments won't compare to the joy that is coming.

Again, thank you for sharing...

lindalsalisbury's picture

Hi Smudge

I have arrived late in the day, and feel I can add very little to the beautiful comments already here.

I can say my father has never left me, and as long as I hear his voice rolling around in my head he will never have left me.

I hope you hear the laughter and shouting of little children, as well as your own, very soon.

Peace brother.

I am 25 years old...

I have spent more than half my life living with a family member every day.

I come from a family of 6, I am the youngest of four with three older sisters. We were all homeschooled until I was 14 and went to High School.

I thought loneliness was being without, but I have learned it is so much more.

When i was 17 my parents went separate ways, the endless love and unity that was a symbol to other torn families on my street was no more. In one night, I became a statistic. In one month, two sisters moved out leaving my dad and one sister to 'come home to.' In one year, it was just my dad and I, our house was empty, all that ever was existent was no more.

There were no more smiling faces at the door, no more family dinners, family arguments, or even a whisper to know someone was there.

I went away to school at 20, coming home every 4 months when school ended. I always thought getting away would be the answer, finding my own path to be strong upon. I studied in Italy at 21, left my home, my city, my country, my life, for half a year.

Now, I live in California, the near opposite end from my family in New York. I come home for winter break, my father is away on business. A house that once was full is now completely empty. It tears me apart, it tears my family apart, even when distance is not measured.

Neil Young once said, "You say you're leaving home 'cause you want be alone, ain't it funny how it feels when you're finding out its real."

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain... though it feels like you're leaving there too soon.

My deepest and most heart felt condolences..

They that give up liberty for security deserve neither.

I am so sorry your family was torn apart...

What happened to your mother? Wasn't she the one who homeschooled you? Why did you end up going to high school, and was it government schools or private?

Don't you ever see your sisters or your mother? I feel really awful at what happened to your happy world. I was homeschooled growing up and now I homeschool our children and, well, I'm just so sorry for what you've gone through.

Are you a Believer in Christ? Do you have a good church family in California? The body of Christ can be a family away from family. Not living by family myself, our church family has been absolutely wonderful. In friendship and in good times as well as in crisis (I just had mono for 6 weeks & they made us meals and came and helped with the kids and cleaned my house, and prayed, prayed, prayed for my very severe case, etc...)

Thank you!

I realized I left her out of that story; My mother is doing well, she lives on her own near one of my sisters houses and yes she was the one who homeschooled me. SO it made it extremely difficult when she left the house.

I went to high school for two reasons, sports and socializing. It was hard for us kids to have many friends and my mother didn't want to me to grow up alone. Entering High School is a whole different tragic story as a freshman - I ate lunch at my locker for the first two months.. before I made a friend, who then asked his professor if it would be okay that I ate lunch in the back of the classroom as long as I didn't disturb anyone.. I hated school, I hated being alone, and I hated everyone who walked by me and laughed. I outgrew that phase and became independent from the 'cliques' and by Senior Year I was friends with everyone, simply because I didn't have a mean bone in my body by then. I was tired of being full of hate, so i went the opposite and began to love.

When I come home, I see all of my family, but you know it just not the same. My sisters are married, they have their own lives. I am just a single guy in college, waiting for love to come around.

I am a strong believer in Christ, as is my family, which is probably the only reason we all still love each other and get along. Except my parents, they won't speak unless they have to - birthday parties are separated, christmas and thanksgiving are seperate.. we are not complete anymore.

Lucky for me, I can't hate anyone, so I have really good friends that help to fill the void. Thank you so much for asking and caring. As you can imagine, its not easy for me to talk about this stuff, but the original post broke my heart and I just felt welcome to share my suffering, so others may know the pain can be conquered.

God Bless You.

They that give up liberty for security deserve neither.

God bless YOU

Thank you for sharing and responding to my questions. I'm so glad you have the Lord! He has good things in store for you. I can speak from personal experience that waiting for the right one - God's right one - will be worth the wait! I was engaged to MY right one, broke the engagement (hardest thing ever) and 3 yrs. later became engaged to GOD'S right one and married and had children with God's blessing. Its really beautiful. My advice to anyone single would be do it right all the way. A wedding night that is really the wedding night is an unspeakable delight, a gift that keeps on giving for the rest of your lives!!!!

Smudge Pot,

I am so sorry for your loss. I want to share with you the last verse of Kahlil Gibran from his book The Prophet in the chapter "On Death".

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

I hope you and your family find peace in knowing that your father has gone ahead in his journey. Cherish the memories that will come rushing back to you at times when you least expect it. Thank you for posting the update. You will be in my prayers. (((hugs)))

~Your perception becomes your reality~

Dear Smudge,

I'm sorry for the loss of your father. Young or old, expected or sudden, you're never prepared. It's so hard, especially when you've spent as much time with your dad as you did. I'm glad that you'll have memories of laughter and song. Fly safely and be strong.
I guess we'll eventually get used to the new colour....might not like it, but hopefully at least get used to it....some day. ((hugs))

9/11 was an inside job .....time to get some answers..RP 2012

Smudge Pot

It is an odd feeling not having Pop to have your back, I am sure. Now instead of being the kid you are the example for others, the pillar. May you have strength and a hearty laugh. For me it best to remember and smile, celebrate life.


You made me laugh and cry all at once. What a beautifully honest message. I am also experiencing the death of a close one for the first time. What struck me the most is how we leave as we arrived with totally nothing of this world. I have searched most of the morning for something that might be fitting. You sound like a remarkable person which speakes volumes about your Dad. I hope you like this.

My father's face is in the rock on the
mountain; the rock to which I turn
and all sons turn to see the face of all our
fathers on the mountain.

The voice of my father is on the wind
and my voice also when it becomes strong
for only my sons to hear and keep on hearing after I am gone.

To fly higher than the eagle, to run faster
than the deer, to swim as freely as the
fish, to have the cunning of the coyote
and the sleekness of the lion - this is to
possess the spirit that sings in the wind
and cries in the fire, the spirit that shall never leave my home.

"Its easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
Mark Twain

What I miss most about my parents -

Dad's been gone since '82; mom, since '98. The longer they're gone, the more I regret not being able to hear their answers to the questions that have piled up in my mind since their deaths. I'd love to hear more about living through the Great Depression and World War II, among other things.

BTW Smudge Pot, the escalate in "escalator" refers to the speed at which you move along the stairs, not the direction.


tugged on my heartstrings. Smudge Pot, I sympathize...losing my father was rough, and I think I can imagine a little bit of what you're going through.

Hope lots of people hug you.

God bless.

Peace to you

May God bring you peace and strength.

-- Loyal Yank

PS: Your 3000 mile trip -- you're not in the UK by any chance now, are you?

Wow I had no idea, there's really no way for me to respond

There's no way I can respond to each of you ATM but each and every one of your responses deserves consideration and a reply.

So far I'm impressed by two things:

1. There's more of us oldsters around here than I though

2. Somehow this riff I did gives us a reason to show our loving side, the true 3VOL and know what you bunch of tough curmudgeons?

Love looks really good on you. You wear it well. Seriously it looks really good on you.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.


we can be a pretty tough group armed with hard reality and tired of trying to patiently talk the neo-cons and liberals over to the truth - that sometimes we vent on here. I agree with your comment, "Love looks really good on you"

And I'm really sorry for your loss, and I sympathize with the physical pain you will endure on your flights since I also have back problems. I'll pray for you and also that you have no problems with the TSA and no embarrassing shenanigans at their hands. I don't know when your flight was today, but hopefully it went well and so will your return.

Thanks for posting Smudge.

This is an example of the bravery we need to demonstrate to others. Freedom also means actually feeling free enough to express yourself.

I think perhaps the best thing I could say is "I know how you feel."

Then I think of all these technologies that are hidden from us where we could be living for hundreds of years... probably not what you wanna hear right now... but it's probably a good time to say it.

Imagine someone like Tesla or Einstein... or Ron Paul... who lived for hundreds of years. We can accomplish so much in such a relatively short period of time (50-80 years). Imagine if these people could continue their work... what kinds of things would they discover?

Smudge Pot

,I think it is extremely brave and beautiful what you are doing, for anyone to open themselves up like that and talk about something so deep and painful is not easy at all,

I can't understand the pain you are going through, however what I can tell you is that your father must have been the happiest dad in the world, to have raised a man who believed in honesty, courage, integrity, liberty, and worked for a greater good while encouraging it with others, he was very lucky, though I don't know you personally, you have my deepest sympathies

scawarren's picture

I'll just have to repeat lida

I'll just have to repeat lida ricky...big hugs to you.

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain
Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong. - Ron Paul

no words... just a



I am in tears reading this. I am deeply sorry for your loss, death stings like no other. Keep writing, let us know how you are getting along. I like to think of my loved ones as still with me when they pass over to the other side, and I think of death as a new beginning for those passed, like a rebirth into another dimension. A beautiful, peaceful paradise they can enjoy for all eternity.

I'm thankful that you had a life with a loving father who taught you things. So many don't have that at all.

"Who knows but life be that which men call death,
And death what men call life?"

Wishing you safe travels, lots of love to soak up during this time and ever after, and comfort for your family too.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-Thomas Paine

Please don't cry for the wrong reasons.

Cry for reasons not unhappy. Cry the way you are in a moment. So many of you have such gentle hearts. My father was old and in pain so this is mercy. And what I feel now is more akin to gratitude and a sense of pride that I AM HIS SON.

And also I have the present support of my uncle Billy Joe and my remaining brother, we are just talking. Not much to say but nothing and everything else.

So I feel very fortunate.


It is a good thing to be with friends and I am glad to be among the people here,

Ya hey ya hey! Ya hey ya hey heya,
Yahey yahey heya, ya hey
Ya hey ya hey! Ya hey ya hey heya,
Ya hey heya, yahey
Ya hey ya hey ya ha ha ha ha ha
Yahey ya hey ya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

(That was "waterfall make happy song", Cherokee)

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

I heard it said, tears wash the window of the soul.

Who would not want a clear view as great mysteries unfold?

Free includes debt-free!

jrd3820's picture

This made me tear up

In a thread just the other day I was talking about how I have the coolest Dad in the world, and now I just thought about what it would be like to loose him.

I am relatively young and my parents are both in decent health, but sometimes that does not mean anything.

I am sorry about your loss Smudgepot, you and your family will be in my thoughts.

I know where you are coming from

I was 42 when I lost my father, to whom I was very close. We lived about 15 miles apart, so I saw him frequently, and he was always available for me to call. He passed about a decade ago, and I still find myself wanting to call him when I see something funny or interesting, or if I don't know how to fix something (he was a master at fixing things around the house, me, not so much.)

Relish the memories of your father. You will always miss him, but that also means he will always be with you in those memories.

I'm not saying anything new or revolutionary, obviously. As you said, this is one of the times when there are no adequate words. Like others have said, I am very sorry for your loss and wish for you the strength to get through the things you need to do.

I'm still praying for you SmudgePot.

We love you.

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

A truely inspiring piece.

As an almost senior citizen here ,58, I must tell you death never gets easier to deal with. I've lost both parents, both in laws, my older sister and a year later my wife died in my arms. Add to this unfortunate tally many acquaintances and friends, I just received an email two hours ago notifying me of a respected co worker passing over the holiday. The older we get the more common place death becomes, I recently asked my brother in law when it ends and the only answer either of us could come up with , when we die. God bless you and thanks for the posting.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

I read an article last week...


Kind of an interesting take on your "travel 3000 miles to let people have their say" point.

I haven't yet lost someone that close to me

but, in the losses I've had, I always try to picture that person happy and smiling. They look at me and give me a playful nudge and a thoughtful look that says "Don't worry about me kid, I'm fine, you can't imagine how fine. Worrying or boo-hooing over me is useless as the time between now and when we'll see each other again is just the blink of an eye"."now pick your chin up and try to help the others"

Keeping that picture is easier said than done but it helps.