Earlier this year, my father was informed he had less than six months left to live. At best. It was a dire prognosis, but he was also a fiercely independent and stubborn man. Given those character traits, he was determined to live his life as normally as possible given this prognosis. That meant he wanted no part of assisted living facilities or hospitals.
he wanted to die as he had lived; on his own terms.
Consequently, he simply asked for some help a few times a week as he tried to live as normal a life as possible. I found some people to help him on Tuesdya's and Thursdays and then I drove down every Saturday. He had friends that checked in on him the other days of the week as well. I communicated with multiple people daily trying to make sure he was not neglected.
My trips to Eugene were mostly about helping him run errands, getting his food for him, making sure he got everything he needed. We shared lunches and memories; we shared plenty of talk about his vision for a final project. We talked daily as he worked to get an autobiography ghost written.
In early July, he and I had lunch on a Saturday; by Wednesday he was incoherent and had to be transported to the hospital. When I picked him up from the hospital ten days later, I had expected him to be somewhat similar to the last time we had spent the day together. he sounded coherent on the phone and was very vibrant as I picked him up. By the time I had gotten him home, though, things had taken a significant turn for the worse. He was unable to do more than stand up (with significant assistance) and sit back down.
The end was near and I knew it. I could not leave him alone and ended up spending the next four days in Eugene taking care of him. My brothers arrived to assist me on Sunday and Monday, but it had been an emotionally and physically draining few days. He passed on August 4th of this year. Living the closest to my father, I spent the next two weeks preparing and organizing his celebration of life.
That is where I have been for most of the summer; spending final days with my father. I have been somewhat out of sorts these last few days as I try to rediscover my sense of normalcy.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me during this time - there are too many to list - their thoughts and kindness have been appreciated more than I can express.
Now as I try to get back to me, I am going to do my best to reintegrate myself into football, recruiting, writing and sharing my thoughts with all of our readers and all of our followers. Without all of you, this would be nothing more than a guy tapping meaningless letters into a computer. So, thank you.
FLOCK TALK: Deep impact
Tomorrow is my weekly Flock Talk article. For the most part, this is premium content and I hope you all read it tomorrow, but there is a part of it which I think deserves to be read by more people than just the paying members of Duck Sports Authority.
I don't think there is any secret that I am an avid supporter of Brenda Tracy. I have never made a qualm about this, nor an apology. I have never been more impressed with someone I have not met in person. She has been on an amazing journey and not only lived to tell, but has used her journey to inspire others.
This week John Canzano included Brenda on his annual 'most influential' list for Oregon sports. Her place at No. 4 is an earned and well deserved honor. But I think she should be higher. Her work is that important. So here is a part of tomorrow's Flock Talk:
Most important on the list, though, would be the woman at No. 4; Brenda Tracy. One of only two women on the list (the other being Portland State athletic director Valerie Cleary), Tracy gets the vote of many as the most influential person in Oregon sports. Number one.I hope you all read Flock Talk tomorrow. Share this story far and wide; not for me, but to continue Ms. Tracy's incredible work. She deserves all the accolades.
Tracy’s impact extends beyond one team, beyond a university or city; beyond a state or a football conference. Her impact extends across the nation.
She has been a tireless advocate for changing the culture of college football for the better. Following her own horrific tale of survival, she has turned her tragedy into hope for millions of other women across the nation (and eventually the globe) with a determined effort to clean out violence in college athletics. She has done so in the face of extreme adversity confronting the most egregious violators without fear of angered vitriol.
The battle Brenda Tracy fights every day is more real – and more important – than any football game. Hers is a battle for dignity, compassion and ultimately hope. This is a battle which should encompass the good across universities and across state lines. It is a battle which deserves the support of every college football fan; it will make the sport and nation better.