1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Thanks, Dad (***UPDATED***)

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Tripp McNeely, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. Tripp McNeely

    Tripp McNeely Member

    Tonight, the Celtics knocked off the Lakers 131-92 to capture the 2008 NBA world title. As a lifelong Lakers fan, I'm supposed to be steamed right now. Should I rip Kobe Bryant, for not forcing his will upon his teammates any more than he's already tried? Or should I rip Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (along with the rest of Bryant's "supporting" cast for not showing up for more than one game -- or was it a half, in some cases? -- in this decidedly lopsided series I had waited years to witness again.

    Yet I sit here, not 20 minutes removed from the final buzzer, watching the tears stream down Kevin Garnett's face and realize, that's been my tear-streaked face several times these last few days.

    Several years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Like most older men -- stubborn and hardheaded to the core -- he waited and waited, ignoring symptom after symptom, before finally seeing a doctor. When he finally relented, they told them there was really nothing they could do. They offered him a treatment of injections and their best suggestion was to live his life as normally as he could for as long as he could.

    When I had first heard the news, I broke down and cried. This was the strongest man I'd ever known. And now, there's nothing that they could do? Not that this makes any sense, but I expected him to wake up dead very soon after this initial diagnosis.

    How stupid was I?

    This man, who along with my grandmother, raised me while my mother did some growing up herself. With my father nowhere in the picture, my grandfather is the man I consider dad. Growing up, he'd play catch with me; he taught me about sports.

    He also taught me what it was to provide for a family. I learned about priorities in life. Making sure your family was taken care of was Rule No. 1 and continued to be that rule until, well, the family was taken care of. Only then were you allowed to spoil yourself.

    We had our battles, to be sure. I'm sure he didn't always enjoy my independent thinking and I surely didn't enjoy his old-school mindset on certain topics. But, the older we both got, the more in common we realized we had.

    In recent years, watching his fight with cancer was an inspiration. My grandfather loved the outdoors and lived for horses. I'm convinced that's what kept him young and strong for so long in his final fight. It reached the point where I often told him that he had beaten cancer. If he were to pass away, it would be from old age, and that he should be proud because we were of him.

    It had been a few months since I'd seen him when he and my aunt stopped by the house one morning. I was immediately struck by how much weight he'd lost since the holidays. It was then he informed me that the doctors were upping his medication and that he was going to be provided with a hospice nurse to help him with things he needed done.


    As soon as I'd heard the word, I knew, but I held it in. I still wonder, to this day, if he was doing the same, because he never let on that this worried him. He may not have been savvy enough to know what it meant, or he may not have wanted to worry anyone.

    We shook hands and I told him I'd see him very soon, at his 80th birthday party, to be exact. He was so happy that I was able to come to that party. Working a journalist's hours, we all know that the weekends aren't guaranteed.

    It nearly killed me to see how much more he would deteriorate in such a short span. I treasured every second I had with him. His mind, perhaps due to cancer that had spread or the medications he was taking, was no longer that sharpened tool I'd come to know and admire. His body was so frail. The looks on people's faces who hadn't seen him in a while were of sadness.

    The strongest man we'd all come to know was dying.
  2. Tripp McNeely

    Tripp McNeely Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    So, on a night when normally I'd be all broken up about the Lakers losing in the NBA Finals, I can only sit here and wonder about him, since I was told today is now almost completely unresponsive. He no longer eats. The pain has become so bad, all he can do is moan. The previous few days weren't much easier as he no longer recognized people who'd become everyday fixtures in his life.

    I again looked up at Kevin Garnett, balling his eyes out on national television. Good for him. He and the Celtics deserved to win the title. I also thought about some younger generation Celtics fans, who might've been lucky enough to have been able to share this with their special someone.

    All I can do tonight is cry, and hope that he goes quickly and as painlessly as possible. I also hope he knows how much I love and admire him. I did my best to make sure he knew, but I still worry. He isn't a religious man, so I don't ask for your prayers for him. What I ask is you call someone in your life who means as much to you as he does to me, and let them know it.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    That's a tough story, Tripp. You have my best wishes.
  4. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Tripp, I am so sorry you are going through this.
  5. Guillermo

    Guillermo New Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Uh, it's bawling.

    Sorry about your Grandpa.
  6. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Sorry to hear about your dad, Tripp, and thank you for sharing with us. I lost a family member I had been very close to a few weeks ago and I had some of the same questions you are facing now. But I am sure she realized how important she was to me, just as your dad knows how you feel about him.

    No matter how many times you tell somebody what they mean to you, it is always worth doing one more time just in case the next opportunity doesn't come.
  7. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Sorry to hear about your granddad, Tripp. No matter how we think we'll be mentally ready for it, it always hurts.

    That said, I'm pretty confident that he knows how much you love and admire him. I'm sure he has great love for you, too and I'm sure you know that.

    I'm sorry I don't have any eloquent words for you except to suggest that you let him live on in your memory. In that way, he'll never die.
  8. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Tripp, you have my condolences.

    And yes, prayers -- for you and your family to get through this difficult time.
  9. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Hang in there, Tripp. Everything will turn out for the best. He knows how much you care -- and always will -- for him. Be strong, bud.
  10. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    I know that must have been incredibly difficult to share, T. I hope his suffering ends soon and for nothing but peace for you and your family.
  11. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Good to see the spelling/grammar police remain in force.

    Tripp, you can misspell any work you please, man. Especially in these tough times.
  12. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Re: Thanks, Dad

    Tripp, you know I'm available via cell phone if you need to talk. Best wishes and prayers do go out to you and your family members at such a difficult time.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page