an author without publication, I
originally established this site to keep friends and family updated on
my writing progess, my search for an agent and my status in various
contests. I also posted samples of my writing: some short
stories and a novel excerpt. Unfortunately, fate decided that
my life should take another course. I continued to write
occasionally, but someone more important was at the forefront of my
daily living - my Dad. In October 2004, my Dad was undergoing
an annual checkup and his doctor spotted a
sizeable shadow on the chest x-ray. In January 2005, my Dad
had surgery to remove a tumor the size of a baseball from his
right lung. Along with the tumor came his lung.
my Dad’s recovery was encouraging, his prognosis was
positive. Within weeks he was home and ventured out on his own,
driving his car on short errands. That was short-lived. After his
condition deteriorated, my Dad was back in the hospital. He would never
spend another night at home. Once discharged, he was released
to a rehabilitation facility. When the first
round failed, with woeful care and little attention to his needs, he
went to another. In May we set goals and targets, we listed
exercises to get his remaining lung and his legs strong enough to carry
him without assistance. The first ten days were the best. My Dad
exceeded his goals, his drive and passion were irresistible. But his
body had enough and he fell into a slow spiral downward. The body that
carried him through cardiac arrest, the
body that withstood severe internal bleeding, the body that ran like
the Energizer Bunny for over 75 years, was finally giving out.
June 30, 2005, shortly after nine o’clock at night, my Dad
passed away. My brother Phil and my oldest sister Cindy were with him.
He passed quietly, without pain, after fighting a valiant battle
does this have to do with my writing? My Dad was my
staunchest ally, my greatest supporter. He let me fly when I talked of
law school in California, he gave me doctor references when I told him
I was tired of practicing law and wanted to apply to medical school, he
sat and listened as I described the stories that were in my head and
had to put on paper. He was not my inspiration, but when inspiration
struck me, he fed it and made it grow. I am not lost
without my Dad, but my maps on this journey of life are outdated and
some parts are torn or missing and I have no one to supply the updates
or missing pieces. I mourn the loss – sometimes
telling my wife about my bad day, sometimes in silent tears, sometimes
alone. My writing continues in fits and starts, but I do not have the
drive I once had.
are two pieces I wrote shortly after my Dad’s death. The
first one is self-explanatory, the second is the conclusion of the
eulogy I gave at my Dad’s funeral.
Final Moments with My Dad, and
By Chris Possessky
I visited my Dad on the
morning of June 30, 2005, the day he died. The hospital room
was stereotypically sterile, the air was cool and he was covered in
white blankets up to his
chest. Sunlight, filtered by the white haze of the sky, lit
the room. The IV tubes delivering medicine ran down to his
arm, the ends concealed beneath the blankets, the tube with oxygen for
remaining lung was wrapped behind his ears and rested underneath his
nose. Two days' of beard growth, colored white and gray,
spotted his chin and cheeks. The band of hair the wrapped
behind his head from temple to temple was gray and thin. His
eyes were droopy, and when he spoke his words slow and
deliberate. But there was color in his skin and life in his
body. He pressed on, doing only what he knew, trying to hold
on. He slept for most of the two hours I was with
him. Awakening and responding to questions by doctors and
nurses. I sat and watched his chest rise and fall with each
breathe, 'still strong, still going,' I thought. I tried to
write, penning a couple more paragraphs for one of my short
stories. But I suffered interludes of melancholy, bouts of
weeping, streams of tears. I knew his time was short, but not
how short. Before I left, I woke him. I took his
right hand in mine and squeezed. He squeezed back.
His handshake grip was no longer the firm, crushing grip I had known,
but it still let me know he was not giving up. He opened his
eyelids, flapping them twice to get them wide, revealing his dull eyes.
I smiled and said in a whispered, scratchy voice, "Dad," I hesitated,
then again, "Dad."
He turned up the corners of his mouth. He was still
lucid. He knew it was me.
"Dad, I'll see you tomorrow."
In our last exchange of words on this planet, he replied, in a voice
tired from the treatments, tired from the therapies and tired from life
"Oh. Alright, babe."
The next time I saw his
body, at 10:05 that night, it was cold and devoid of life, the skin had
lost its color and was pale grayish, white. I wasn't saddened
sight. I knew he was no longer there, the body, the vessel of
his soul, had shed its cargo. Maybe in my mind, when I left
him that morning, I recognized the end as near, that my optimism to see
him the next day was a realization that I would not see him alive
again, that our exchange of words were metaphor, and that tomorrow is
Eulogy for an Umpire
By Chris Possessky
the de facto
eulogist at my father's funeral, I struggled with the words I would say
to convey to the world
the essence of my Dad. I wanted to be concise, yet expand
on my Dad's life to give everyone a full flavor of the man.
more I thought about him, the more I remembered and most of the eulogy
was written. I just needed a fitting ending to conclude the
of the man who loved baseball almost as much as he loved his children
The Sunday before we laid him to rest, I was with my six-year old son,
Tristan. Without warning, he asked me if Grandpa’s
had arrived in heaven yet. I immediately turned
away as my eyes welled and my throat closed up.
painfully swallowing and dabbing my cheeks to clear the tears that
fell, I turned and answered briefly with a broken and whispered voice,
“I’m sure he’s there by now,
Sometimes the death of a loved one raises the question about
heaven and the existence of God, we wonder whether this is it, that we
simply live in this corporeal world and die, or whether there is a
place in eternity for our souls.
Any doubt in my mind was erased at that moment. In my
question there was certainty. Of course his Grandpa was on
way to heaven, it was just a matter of when he was going to get
there. Knowing my Dad, and his propensity for failing to
at the appointed time, he probably left a message for St.
that he’d be
at the gates in about an hour, but after stopping to get the newspaper
gabbing with some folks along the way, it was more like three
In fact, he arrived at the Pearly Gates and what he saw surprised
him. The gates reached high into the heavenly sky, taller
any man-made structure. And they weren’t pearly at
they were the black of iron. On each side stretched a red
wall almost as tall as the gates and as far as the eye could
see. Inside the gates was a row of
turnstiles. My Dad approached and St. Peter asked him for his
ticket. My Dad had none.
St. Peter said, “you can’t get in without a
My Dad was a bit perplexed, but he persisted. He explained
St. Peter that when he got on the train to heaven, nobody asked him for
a ticket, and the train’s only stop was right in front of the
Pearly Gates, so it’s not as though he got off at the wrong
then, what’s you’re name?” queried St.
Peter. “I'll see if you’re on the
My Dad complied and after a few minutes St. Peter spoke again.
“Oh, I see the problem, you’re at the wrong
gate. Umpires are down there.”
St. Peter saw the angst in my Dad’s face and instantly
allayed his fears.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I don’t
there,” as he pointed downward, “I mean down there,
right.” And St. Peter pointed to an almost
smaller entrance. Also, by the way, known as the Pearly
“Players, coaches and umpires have their own special
My Dad entered and there he saw baseball fields stretched out to
the horizon. The grass was thick and green, the sandy brown
were perfectly shaped diamonds,surface raked smooth, and the
sky was a clear, pale
blue. Playing on the fields in front of my Dad were
great baseball players that
passed before him. Roberto Clemente was shagging fly balls
with Joe Dimaggio. Bob Feller and Cy Young were talking on
mound where Cy Young was pitching batting practice to Lou Gehrig.
Jackie Robinson was in the on-deck circle talking to Thurman
Munson. As Cy Young went into
his wind up, my Dad stepped a little closer, cupped his hands around
his mouth and bellowed to Mr. Gehrig, “Hit the ball young
The great Casey Stengel stepped out of the dugout and approached my
Dad. Before long, the two men were talking baseball as if
were old chums. Mr. Stengel informed my Dad that they were
waiting for the new umpire to get the game started.
his new role, my Dad asked for his gear, but Mr. Stengel had to make
sure he was qualified so he asked my Dad a few questions. Mr.
Stengel was then given a sampling of some of my Dad's euphemisms.
long have you been in the game?” he asked.
I was knee high to a grasshopper,” my Dad replied.
you know the rules in this league?”
answered my Dad.
most important question came last. “Can you call a
aplomb, and not quite in the proper decorum of heaven, my Dad
“I’ll guaran-God damn – tee ya.”
With that, Mr. Stengel nodded his approval. The home team
the field and the visitors ran to their dugout. My Dad donned
gear and took up his position behind the catcher. The first
batter came to the plate, tipped his cap to the new umpire and dug in
his right foot waiting for the first pitch.
My Dad pulled the mask down over his face, pointed to Cy Young on the
mound and, with the joy of a kid on Christmas morning, yelled,
for the ego boost CC.
a question or opinion? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2005, 2006 Chris Possessky