Love in a bipolar world – Apparently I have a learning disability (Part2)

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… He squared off and asked, “Did you have anything to do with this?”  I slightly closed my eyes, nodded my head yes and braced myself for the first hit…

…a brief yet eternal silence, nothing happened.

(Photo by Danny Keaton)
(Photo by Danny Keaton)

I opened my eyes and there was my father. He shook his head in disappointment, like only a father could and walked away ashamed. I’m thinking, “Is this really happening or have I been hit so hard and so quick, that it knocked me into a dream state?”

I was an ungrateful piece of s#!%, especially as a teen and in my early 40’s. My adolescences and young adulthood was a constant battle with my father, and I hated him.

Twelve years later, 1995; I am married with two children. My son is 3 years old and my daughter is an infant. Early one morning I am picking up my kids at my parents’ house to take them back home before I go to work, my wife and I just got back from Colorado.  Running late so of course my father and I get into a shouting match about my irresponsibility of time management. After the argument settled down, the kids and I are in the garage getting ready to leave. My father went into his bedroom on the other side of the house. All a sudden, we heard a loud noise; it sounded like something fell. My mother tells my son to go check on his grandpa. After what seemed like a minute, my son rushes back, “Grandpa is taking a nap.” So we get into the car and leave.

After a short shift, I returned home.  My wife met me at the door. She had been crying, “Danny, have you talked to the police?”

I, of course, responded with confusion, “Police?”  This was back when I didn’t own a cell phone and she couldn’t get a hold of me at work. She says, “Oh my God Danny, your father had a heart attack and passed away.”

Once again,

(Photo by Danny Keaton)
(Photo by Danny Keaton)

a brief yet eternal silence, nothing happened.

It felt like everything drained out of me and vertigo took over. I couldn’t believe it; this couldn’t be true!  “I just got finishing talking to him! No, wait a minute, I was arguing with him just a few hours ago.  There’s been a mistake, right?”

Getting into my car, I rushed over to my parents’ house. Turning the corner from the house I saw all the cars parked out front. Reality sunk deep. Up until then, I had not wanted to believe my father was really dead.

For the past 19 years, I know what it’s like to live with guilt and regret.  I would give everything to talk to my dad for just 30 seconds, to tell him I love him and that I truly think he was the greatest man I have ever known. When they are gone, you would like to believe they can hear you, but you never really know.

My father stood tall and strong, he was tough and a man of his word. My dad’s ghost lives every day in my thoughts and sometimes I see him in my dreams. It’s kind of funny how life teaches you the lessons that will define certain parts of who you are from that moment on.

I do not think I have a learning disability, (or maybe I do, who cares!?)  I do know that I have a love for life and not afraid to make mistakes.  Mistakes have been my mentor. I am not afraid to take the risks.

Sure, sometimes I make the same mistakes over and over again, expecting a different outcome; I think recovering alcoholics call that the definition of insanity. Maybe normal people call it a learning disability or even stupidity. I have learned from my father’s death: always let the ones you love know how much you love them and how much they mean to you. You never know when the “eternal silence” is just around the corner and you will never get another chance.

This is what I have learned.

(Photo by Danny Keaton)
(Photo by Danny Keaton)


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For more information and help call NDMDA Depression Hotline Support Group at (800) 826-3632 or the U.S. Suicide Hotline at (800) 784-2433.

“Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around” – from the movie Vanilla Sky written by Alejandro Amenabar and Mateo Gil, screenplay by Cameron Crowe

 Danny Keaton

Standup Comedian – Writer – Lover – Bastard