Something About Ohio

My dad loved Ohio. A life working in Downtown L.A. and living in one of her many tentacled suburbs had taken a toll on him. “I can breathe here,” he told me on his last visit. So I resolved to stay. And when he retired I would move him in with me and repay him for the life he gave me. He deserved that and so much more. I was so looking forward to taking care of him. 

Then he died unexpectedly. 

I left Ohio because it was never my home. It was an unexpected refuge that became something I could give to him. Without him there was nothing left for me in Ohio. So I went home to California. Broken and in need of something only California, home, could ever give me.

But life is nothing if not a funny little bitch. 

I married an Ohio girl and moved to… wait for it… Florida: The homeless man’s California. 

But the Ohio girl brings me back to Ohio quite a lot. And Ohio gives me quite a lot because that is who she is. 

I am sitting here across from the two people who made her everything she is. The best of her and worst of her resides within these two people she calls mom and dad. At the moment they are each waging their own battles against some health issues. TGB has been up here caring for them for the better part of four months. I come up about once a month for a week or two to help her. 

I’ve gotten to get closer to them than I have even my own wife. A lot of heavy lifting. Some messy clean-up. Not a single night going to bed less than exhausted. 

It’s bittersweet. Bitter because I realize what my life could have been had my dad lived. And I miss that so very much. And it still hurts because I want so badly to thank him for everything. That was all it was ever about for me. Sweet because every bit of this is a privilege. Every single bit. Yes, even the messy parts. 

I get to do for the most important people in my wife’s life what I never got to do for the most important man in mine. I consider it a gift, honestly.

I started writing this in September on my dad’s birthday. I never published it because I don’t really know why. I came back tonight and saw it sitting my draft box and thought, delete it or publish it. 

So here you go. 

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