Dax Shepard, the actor, says goodbye to his father who recently died of cancer at age 62 in a riveting, humorous, and tear-jerking blog post that you need to read.
At a time when the 38-year-old actor seemed to be living every possible dream he could have, in love with the talented gorgeous actress Kristen Bell, the two of them expecting their first child together, and his career both on TV and in the movies in Mach 3 mode, Shepard writes eloquently about the news that his 62-year-old dad, Dave Robert Shepard Sr, a man who had come and gone during Dax’s childhood, announced that doctors had found a ‘mass’ in his neck and how strangely unexpected it was.
But, beyond the shock and awe of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis crash landing down upon your daily life, Shepard, who currently appears on NBC’s Parenthood, really nails a blunt reality rarely captured when he explains how the days he spent with his dying father in the last few months of his life were, quite frankly, the best days they had ever really shared.
We had a lot of fun together during those four months. We took long car rides through the back roads of rural Michigan. We spent a weekend visiting every single house and apartment the two of us had ever lived in. There were 28 between the two of us. Together we had only shared three of those places: a single-wide mobile home from 0-1 years-old, a small, brick ranch on a few acres in the middle of nowhere from 1-3 years-old, and a modern, middle-class home in a McMansion-ee neighborhood from 15-16 years-old. It was that gap between 3 and 15 years-old that caused most of our issues. He was a selfish asshole, and I lived to hold a grudge, so it was a thoroughly symbiotic pairing.
To be honest, in simply writing his tale, Dax Shepard highlights quite a bit about the conflict so many other people in this world deal with on a daily basis. Those of us who were let down in really big ways by a parent often struggle later in life with re-connecting with them. How do we do it? Do we even want to? But what if they die before we at least try and patch stuff up?
They are tough questions and although I’m not sure that that is really what Shepard was chasing here when he wrote this comical touching account of his final memories with his father, he happened upon it anyway. And, by a blue and cancerous default, he bottled something really kind of meaningful along the way when he wrote:
One of the hidden benefits of cancer is that it can erode grudges the way WD-40 dissolves rust. It just finds it’s way into all the nooks and crannies and starts loosening. Before long, the once formidable chip on my shoulder had melded into something the size of a nicotine patch. Apologies were exchanged. Tears were had. Hugs were frequent and lingering. I spent the majority of our time together running my hand lightly over the tiny little hairs peaking out from the back of his soft, bald head. He let me do that for hours. Without any awareness of it at the time, the trips home turned into a proper Alexander Payne Movie. It became one of the more beautiful experiences of my life.
That’s food for thought for so many of us caught in that strange Middle Earth between being someone’s parent and someone else’s kid, huh?
And I am actually really sorry that he had to write it, but at the same time, I’m glad that he did.
Info source and Image : Don’t Try (Dax Shepard’s blog)