It’s never nice. It’s never easy. It’s never what we want. When a loved one dies, when we lose someone who is an enormous piece of who we are, the hit is like a bullet in the heart. It’s a cliché, but the truth of the matter is that only time will heal that wound, and no matter how much distance you put between the loss, you will be left with the scar.
A friend of mine’s father passed away today. My heart goes out to him and his family. I lost my own father fourteen years ago. I still have bad days, but they come less frequent than they did in those first days, weeks, years. Time has healed most of the damage, but there is a weak spot. My old man was an Elvis guy. Loved the “King”, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, the Beach Boys…classic oldies. I think they call them the golden oldies now…Me, I’m more of a Bruce guy.
That weak spot for me gets pushed when I hear Elvis’ voice. Not every time, but often enough. It may sound weird, but when I hear an Elvis tune, I feel my dad’s presence. My friend told me that his father was the same kind of guy. I hope ELVIS is in the building tonight, and that he’s got a front row seat for the newest member to Heaven’s Elvis Club.
Rest in Peace, Mr. D.
I recently wrote a piece about my dad. My friend really enjoyed it. So I’m going to place it here. I hope you guys enjoy it.
By Glenn Rolfe
“I’m just a hunk-a hunk-a burnin’ love…”
“Hey Dad,” I said. I knew he was checking in whenever the King began to sing. I guess I was usually looking for him too, flipping through the oldies stations and all. Still, what are the oldies stations playing these days? Michael Jackson, Hall and Oats, Madonna? It wasn’t a surefire thing that Elvis “the Pelvis” (as Dad would always refer to him, hands in the air, shaking his hips-he always made me laugh) could be found on the airwaves.
“Yeah, I guess I need a laugh,” I said. “How’s Greg?” I ask as I always do.
“Good I imagine. And Elvis and Roy?” (Roy Orbison, another of Dad’s favorites)
The back roads are dark. My drive home isn’t long, just about right for a check in and a crying session from time to time.
I imagine him driving and me riding shotgun. I pass Fuller’s Market. He used to take me with him every time he went to pick up his cigarettes, beer, and whatever mom needed. He’d have on the oldies station which was still playing fifties and sixties then. He’d tap his foot and sing along to every song between sips from the coffee mug he kept filled with Coors Light.
I never got my license until after he passed. I never got to drive him anywhere except crazy with my mohawk and the safety pin in my ear. That would have been cool. I’ve got a Beach Boys CD I definitely would have put in for him. He probably doesn’t know the words to “Man-eater” or “Billie Jean”. I can hear him sing “Good Vibrations”. He’d do that low vocal part. He always seemed to get a kick out of going low.
Elvis has left the building.
“Burning Love” gives way to some crappy James Taylor tune.
I’m not ready to lose the connection yet, so I grab the CD booklet from between the seats, grab the Beach Boys CD, and put it in.
“Round, round, get a round, I get around.”
There, just a couple more minutes. I start to sing along. My voice cracks. I imagine us doing a duet. The tears start crawling down my cheeks.
I’m pulling into my driveway when the song ends. I kill the engine, and wipe my cheeks with the sleeve of my sweatshirt.
It’s nice to know that sometimes, even if just for a few minutes, you can get back something you’ve lost.