Today is the anniversary of my father’s death. Maurice W. Black MD.
It may be the 4th or 5th year. Try not to think about it. The obituary says the January 7th, but I believe it was actually the 6th.
I couldn’t bear to attend your funeral for several reasons. Staggering guilt, sadness and abrupt bouts of tears overwhelmed each day. Never seeing your grave was a constant mental blow to my heart and conscience. Finally, after several years and with the help of counselling I’m alright with that. There is no guilt nor even one reason to visit the cemetery. You are gone forever. that grave is cold stone.
When the phone rang with the news of your sudden and unexpected death I immediately flew into LA from Reno. The other 2 of our immediate family were there and insanity reigned. My half-sister loved you, despite spending time and money proving that she was not your daughter. I’m so happy that you never found out. Your wife, my step-mother, loved you too.
They both took control. My words and wishes were meaningless. Watching my step-mother and sister casually disposing of your things, going through your closet and items held dear while you were lifeless in the morgue. When my step-mother’s children arrived I was asked to sleep under the dining room table. This was to allow one of my step-mother’s children to take the bedroom. Their decision to bury your body in California and not in the family plot in Pennsylvania Then the selfishness shown in deciding the time of the funeral was preposterous. Well it couldn’t be in the morning because my sister and step-mother’s shoes would get wet from the dew. Jesus I thought you would never be laid to rest.
If they had made a credible and faster decision you would at least have been able to roll over in your grave.
My half-sister making sure that all of the Black family possessions went with her. Her excuse later was that she had it for ‘safekeeping.’ From what?! She wasn’t even a Black. An excuse to get her way and belittle myself, life, and feelings. Innuendos were made, lies were spread. Why? You would have told them to shut the hell up and knock off the nasty bullshit gossiping.
It was an indisputable fact that the Knabe piano went to me. Dad we shared the passion for music and the beautiful piano. No one could deny that one thing to me. The circus in your beloved Idyllwild mountain home was literally unhinged. After a desperate phone call to a good friend I fled the vultures. Dad, you would not have stood for that fatuousness either. It was an atrocity and there was no reason to continue feeling forced to participate. So I missed your funeral. Know that you understand.
My father was the only person in my life that encouraged me to go where life took me. Music and not Medicine, Life and not fleeting Love, Happiness and not Hopelessness. When I was finally willing, sobriety and not self-destruction.
At the age of 40 I wanted to end my current career as a successful businesswoman and musician; to go to Med School. He gave me the down and dirty about life in the medical field today. He convinced me that 20 years ago (when I graduated from college) it would have been the right choice… but no longer. God that conversation became hilarious. A great memory.
I miss you dad. You gave me my love for learning. For history, travel, gourmet food but most of all music. From Classical to Show Tunes to Big Band. To learn how to play the piano, to find my own path, and all with unwavering love and support.
The last night of your life you called me. I didn’t call back, opting to call back the next day. Hate the phone, and email. So did you. Our conversation every week was an exception.
By the next morning you were already dead of a massive stroke; on your way to help others. At the age of 75 you still went to work every day to head the county mental health division. You didn’t need to work.
Doing my best not to dwell on the events that occurred upon your passing.
Only that you loved me the most. Being the favorite was my blessing from you. I loved you the same way.