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My 93 year old father passed away.He was a… – Jonathan Tarrash

Jonathan was a childhood connection, I was more friends with his younger brother (name omitted). I haven’t spoken with either in a very long time. Maybe 35 years or more? I used to draw comic book heroes with Jonathan’s younger brother and our friend Gregg Lieberman. This was all very much part of my childhood. Also part of my childhood was seeing Jonathan and his brother’s father (name omitted) ride around the neighborhood in Queens NY on his bicycle with almost always a big smile on his face. Hey, look…. the kids grew up to be successful and happy so Jonathan and his brother’s dad was a successful dad and he lived to be 93! So all three (now, sadly, posthumously) are recognized as Salt Of The Earth Award nominees.

My 93 year old father passed away.He was a father who was quick to discipline his kids.He loved his grandchildren ,he…

Posted by Jonathan Tarrash on Monday, July 2, 2018

My dad was laid off five times but always we had a roof over our heads

He left us on Memorial Day 2014.

His last years were not good or happy as he was in a VA Hospital in Queens NY pumped full of meds for more ailments than you can shake a stick at. Still the child-like part of him was never completely obfuscated. As you can see, if you are observant, my arm is on his chair, not his shoulder. He noticed it too. Such is the way so often with fathers and sons.

He never gave me much guidance and my upbringing was very much lacking for that omission. He wasn’t around much but that was because he was working so hard to keep the ship of my childhood home afloat. He was laid off five different times over my childhood years but always ended up getting a job. He was laid off by Nixon’s cut back of the space program when he was working for Grumman. As in the other cases, that was not something he had any control over.

He was very corny and would often make a joke that nobody got and would say “that’s a joke, pal” lol.

He was far from perfect. So am I. So are we all. He was a good man.

In some ways he was a better man than you or I will likely meet anytime soon and I hope that he left some of that in me. He once organized with a local church and with Radio Shack to get electronics kits donated so he could teach kids some basic electronics skills. He ran that program for a while. He was a singer and had a band as recently as the late 1990s before his health got too bad. He would do magic and other entertainment at a local hospital for special needs kids. He tried to play the flute, juggle and other things he was terrible at. He played guitar well enough to sing some Johnny Cash. He was a kind man involved in the community and always trying to be loved by his kids not always successfully. That guilt is also part of the archetypical father-son thing. I love him and miss him. Better late than never.

My dad’s last days… He had what I believe is called a Living Will. Actually he signed it twice. He was not to be resuscitated. Unfortunately in his last years something as mild as the slightest fever was enough to upset the balance of 20+ meds in his system and the maladies they were there to address enough to send him into a coma like state until the matter was resolved. So he was often to the hospital from the VA and back. Yes, major stress for my mom. In this last time he actually stopped breathing and his heart stopped and the medical staff went to work and brought him back against his wishes. When he came back he saw imaginary snakes on the walls and was being fed by a tube and then he was in hospice where they thought he was stable but less than two days later he was gone. I bring this up because I was proud of him for passing on. I knew him well enough to know that it was a causative decision of defiance and pride. They had disobeyed his orders and brought him back when he said this was not his desire and brought him back to being a vegetable and I know that he just said he had had enough and he went on to his next adventure. He was gone but I was something that I should have been more often while he was alive…. proud to be his son.

In August of that year I met my dad one last time. I had a sandwich from a food kiosk at Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth NH. As I walked by the fence that keeps peeps from falling into the river on the other side of which was the Naval base there was an old guy on a wheelchair on the stoop by the fence and he reached out to me with his hand shaking and said “didja leave food for anybody else?” and he acted like he thought that was funny. He all but said “that’s a joke, pal”! I looked at him puzzled like “who is this old dude in a wheelchair picking a fight with me?” lol. I went about 50 feet away and sat down on a park bench. Twice I looked up at him and he was sitting there. A third time I looked up and he had vanished. The park was packed full of people for a festival. There was no way he could have gotten off the stoop in the wheelchair without help. There was nobody saying “excuse me let me through please” like someone would have had to do to wheel him through the crowd. He was simply gone. Then I realized who the old dude was. When I called my mom to tell  her I had just seen dad and I told her what the old dude had said she started laughing like “yeah that was his humor, that was him”. And so I have one more regret with my dad… I didn’t recognize who the old dude was and I didn’t have a longer more meaningful chat.

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