I am not really sure of what I should say. I am 19 years old and I just lost my 40 year old father. Becca is actually my sister in case you may have thought that there were two people with the last name "Falkenrath" who had a 40 year old dad named "Bob/Robert" die on September 21st of a brain stem aneurysm. I wrote something that I read at his funeral and had printed in our local newspaper and I thought it pretty much summed it up. Here it is:
My dad and I had a strange relationship. When I was ten years old I started calling him "Bob" and people would always ask us if he was my stepfather and we would just say that he was my "Biological Bob". He always asked me if it was "hard to have a dad who is so fine." I would just roll my eyes at him and laugh. He would wear these stupid "M.C. Hammer Pants" and pull them up to his chest with a tucked in white undershirt and dance around singing songs off the "Ultimate Funk" CD. And trust me, the man could not dance. It was a sad, sad sight.
He insisted that 8:08 was BOB o'clock. I never have known anyone who never watched TV or movies. I only recall maybe three movies he ever actually sat down and watched and one of them was "The Land Before Time". He had an extensive collection of semiprecious and not-at-all precious coins, including a few washers, pogs and other random flat, round things that could possibly resemble a coin. Bob was a musician and he had this whole strange yet profound theory of how music worked. He refused to go buy replacement ink cartridges for our printer so he took out the cartridges and re-inked them with a Bingo blotter and wound them back up. Buying them would just be too easy for Bob. He went through a phase where he put wheels on everything. He had all these unique weird little cleaning systems. He would vacuum out cans before putting them in the recycling bin because rinsing them would be too easy. He made "Cleaning Carts" that consisted of a trash can, a recycling bin, a whole array of rags, sponges, cleansers and anything you possible could need to clean all set up in an orderly fashion on a wheeled contraption. He was the tall blond guy in 7-11 who tied rags to his feet and dried the floor as he mopped because he didn't want to put out the wet floor sign.
Our family has never had a lot of money but even though we never had a lot of material things we were actually happier with what we did have. My dad made sure that we were entertained as children. I remember how he took a big long pole and put a handle on one end and a seat on the other. He would stand in the middle of our street and one of the neighborhood kids would sit in the seat and he would spin us around all day. It was his "Tilt-a-Whirl". He built us a star trek spaceship in our garage out of cardboard complete with a transporter, computer, replicator, engine room, bridge, and sickbay. My mom made all the kids on the block costumes and we each had our own rank and title. She gave us lunch through the replicator and Bob was the voice of the computer. One winter the park behind our house flooded and Bob got a bunch of blowup rafts and we paddled around in the rain. One summer Bob gave us cardboard with handles and brought us to the side of an overpass and we would slide down the side on the dirt and try to dodge the trees. Bob was the best dad anyone could ever ask for. He did everything to make us happy. He loved my mom and he loved us.
Bob and I would sing together and I always felt so proud that he was my dad. He has supported me entirely since the first day that I decided to make music my life. He was always my biggest fan. I only want to make him proud of me and I know that he will be as long as I do what makes me happy. That has always been what he and my mom have wanted for us.
Bob was not only a wonderful father and an awesome husband, but he was an exceptional human being. I never once in my 19 years I have been living have I heard him say even one bad thing about anyone. He would always correct us moody women in the house and tell us not to judge other people. That it isn't our place. However, I feel bad saying that Bob was the only one who made my childhood as well as my sisters' childhood as great as it was. My mom and him were like one person. My parents were married for 21 years and they were so happy. It was cute because they loved each other so much. It was the way married people should be. My parents succeeded in raising my two sisters and I to be the best possible people we could be. I don't feel conceited at all for saying that because I feel it is no accomplishment of my own that I turned out so wonderful. It was all them. I thank them so much for that. Some people say that my parents were irresponsible because they let us eat candy before dinner and stay home from school because we had cramps or we were tired. But they weren't irresponsible. They just remember how difficult it is to be our age and they trusted us enough to be young adults about things and do what had to be done.
On Friday September 21, 2001, my dad, Robert "Bob" James Falkenrath passed away. It was sudden. It was so sudden that it ripped my heart to pieces. It felt like I had not only lost my daddy but I had also lost one of my best friends. He was so young, only 40 years old. It came out of nowhere. I really wish that I had more time with him. He taught me so much in my 19 years and I know he would have been a wonderful grandpa. But all of the memories of him that I have mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. And I am glad that I had him in my life for as long as I did. I love you daddy, and I sure do miss you.
Well, that is my dad in a nutshell. I would give anything, anything in the world to have him back. I would give up music, and drop out of school and never sing another note in my life if it would bring him back. I just want to hug him. I want to feel his strong daddy arms around me and make me feel all safe and loved like Bob made me feel when he hugged me. I wish I could smell his greasy-wreaking-of-auto-work smell again. To hear him tell me what a babe he thought I was. He made me feel like the most beautiful girl alive. I want to walk out into the living room and hear him singing and playing his keyboards. He was supposed to teach me my aria from Handel's "Messiah". I want to see him smiling at me in the audience at my midterm recital next week. But he won't be there. It isn't fair. I want him back.
Update 30 Oct 2001
A few days ago, the autopsy report from my father came in. It was horrible reading it. All I could do was imagine the dad who I always saw as being strong and almost God-like, being cut open and torn apart. I was trying to eat dinner while I was reading it (yeah I know not the smartest or most normal thing to do) but after I started reading it I lost my appetite and all the horrible memories came back from September 21st. But I was talking to my mom and she told me she had found something out from one of the doctors that she found very comforting and I agree. She told me that the doctor had said that because of where the aneurysm was, the very first thing to go directly after it burst was all his pain sensors in his body. It made sense since my mom never told me about him complaining about any headaches. Well that is all on that subject I wanted to say.
In other news, on tuesday October 23rd, I had my midterm recital. I was incredible nervous before it started and I was standing in the greenroom backstage with the other performers that day, I looked at my picture of my dad and I got tears in my eyes. I walked on stage with a huge smile on my face and sang my program as planned. I made it through it but the last piece I performed ("When I am Laid in Earth" from the opera "Dido and Aeneas" by Purcell) which is about dying, but at the end of it, I got tears in my eyes and you could see the pain on my face in the video. If you would like to watch the video of it, go to Delta College and look under "October 23" for "Amy Falkenrath". I am very proud that I was able to make it through and I know my dad is proud of me
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