Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Richard "Woody" Woodfin
So, my dad passed from cancer two years ago on Monday (6/8). Time sure flies huh? Everytime I see a motorcycle on the road his voice and face are there. Sometimes I think I never knew him well enough. Him and my mom split when I was 3, and he moved back to Alabama. Didn't see him until I was 7, when I was taken away from my mom and moved there with him. He became a truck driver and was always on the road throughout most of the next 8 or 9 years. I was raised by my grandma for a couple of years, my step brother for a couple, and my step sister for the rest. When my dad did come off the road for good, he bought a bar, and I still didn't see him much (school, distance, etc). Then I was in college and he moved to Georgia. Soon enough, I moved back to California in 1998. I went to visit him in 2000. Then he was diagnosed with cancer the first time in (?) late 2004 or early 2005. I took my wife and 2 year old daughter to meet him. At that point, he had beaten the cancer and we thought all was well, or as well as things can be you know. Then the cancer came back in 2007. Before I knew it, he was gone. To put a cliche, at the last, he was a shell of his former self. I talked to him several times leading up to his death, and said my goodbyes and had my cries. I told him how I much I appreciated what he sacrificed for me growing up (I know, another cliche, but true nonetheless.) My second daughter had just been born in April, and he seemed overjoyed at the sounds of her cooing over the phone to him. I was at work when he died. Even knowing it was going to happen that day, when a supervisor came to me while I was working to tell me, it was pretty damned hard. I didn't go back for the funeral, and I think everyone but my wife was upset over that. I mean, how could I? In my head and my memories and my heart, my Dad was this mythical half giant, 6'4", 240 lb biker with a beard down to here. Even seeing him in 2005, without a beard because of the chemo, didn't change my remembrance. In death, in the casket, he would be a thin, pallid version of my father, not the real Woody, the man who taught me chess, the guy who called me 'Turkeybreath' up until I was at least 20 years old, the one who stood up for me when I would battle with my stepmom. How could I see him like that? I think he would/does understand. My dad was far from perfect, but that doesn't mean much to me. He lived life like I want to live, fulfilled. I miss him terribly. Well, I know he's out there somewhere 'watching down on me." Whatever, wish he was here instead, watching my daughters grow up. Love you Dad.