I left him a message saying I was convinced that he should start a blog. He was out of town at a bridge tournament, and told me that I was crazy.
But when he called me back, his first question was, "What would I even start with?"
I knew I had him.
I had to be delicate, though, because the truth was sad. And I didn't want him to know what I was thinking.
* * * *
I wanted him to write a blog for me. For my family and our friends, too, and I suppose the whole world. But he had to write it down mostly for us. Because he had so, so many funny great wonderful amazing stories. And I didn't know them all.
I could never remember them all.
Heck, I wasn't allowed to hear them all. (I'll tell you when you're older, he'd say. But maybe sometimes a daughter is never old enough.)
He was sick, though, and I didn't want to tell him that I was scared he would grow too sick to tell the stories before I had collected them all. I had to have them, know them, be able to tell them again.
Especially the ones about my mom. There was still too much I didn't know. An embarrassing amount, really. I was ashamed I didn't know more. Even the stories that were about the two of them -- and by God, were there a lot of them -- I wanted to know those and have those pieces, too.
His cancer had disappeared, but when it came back it did so with a vengeance. Before he was too weak to play bridge or trivia, before he was in the hospital, before my poor family had to do the hospice vigils again, I wanted it all written down.
* * * *
He was a good writer and a fantastic story-teller. I had no doubt he'd have a blast doing it.
"I don't know what you'd start with, but it doesn't matter," I told him. "You can go in any order you want. Maybe start with that list thing you'd sent me."
Not long after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, he decided to make a big long list of places he'd been, people he'd met, great restaurants and celebrities and happenstances in his life that he'd been lucky to experience.
Not proud, mind you. Lucky. He never used the word proud except when referencing his girls.
(And even then, he'd give most of the credit to my mom.)
So goddamned lucky, he'd say.
"Well who would even READ it?" He wanted to know. He was still pretending that he wasn't sold on the idea, but if he was already thinking about his readers, I knew he was gonna do it.
"I would link to you for starters," I offered.
"Oh, I don't know about that."
So we talked more and I said I would just set one up for him and walk him through logging on. He agreed that he'd write a couple sample entries, just to get the hang of it. And then we could discuss whether we'd make it public or not.
It was going to be cool. I told him I was excited, and that I thought I was creating a monster. He still had reluctance in his voice, but it was for show. He loved the idea.
We said I love you and hung up the phone.
It was the last conversation I had with my father.
* * * *
Last year on the morning of May 2, I was at home. I didn't commute to work because our company was going to a baseball game that afternoon in the city.
In the five years I'd lived in San Francisco, despite my father's history as a world-class athlete and rabid baseball fan, I had never been to a Giants game. It would have been my first.
I was sleeping in, and awoke from a very strange dream about my family where I was having a conversation with my aunt because the phone was ringing. I answered it, and it was the same aunt I was dreaming about.
She was calling to tell me that my father had died. I didn't understand at first. I thought maybe something had happened and he was in the hospital, but I didn't think... We had spoken just two days before. And he had been traveling. And it didn't make sense. There was no warning.
He had just collapsed, finally, his body done with the fight.
* * * *
When we got back from the funeral services, one of the first things Ish did was take me to a Giants game.
I could not believe how beautiful it was. The sun and the Bay, and the fans and the families. The game. The history. So many people cheering, living. So many stories everywhere. And my own, too. How I came to be.
So goddamned lucky.
It was glorious.