I know that A Shroud of Thoughts is usually dedicated to pop culture, but today I would like to go off topic a bit for something that is very important to me. Namely, today it will have been twenty years since my father's death. It was on October 16, 1987 that my father passed from this world.
I realise that I am probably biased, but I have always regarded my father as a most remarkable man. He never went beyond the 8th grade in school, yet he was one of the most intelligent men I ever knew. Without the benefit of college, my father knew a good deal about veterinary medicine, civil engineering, and even ecology. He was the first conservationist and ecologist I ever knew. My father was never a very big man in size. He was only five foot nine inches tall and I doubt he ever weighed more than 150 pounds soaking wet. Despite this, he could work men twice his size into the ground. My ex-brother in law, who stood six foot four inches tall, had difficulty keeping up with him!
Most importantly, however, my father was perhaps the most honourable man I ever knew. He always kept his word, always paid his debts, always saw that his family was cared for, and sought never to wrong anyone. He passed these values onto my siblings and myself. Anything good in me at all stems directly from his influence.
Sadly, my father developed lung cancer when he was 65 and battled the disease for four long years. He remained active for most of that time, only spending the last six months of his life bed ridden. I always thought that last six months was six months too much. My father had always been active, always working, so that being bed ridden must have been a nearly intolerable situation for him. During that time I helped my mother care for him.
My father's taste in music hardly ran to rock music. I doubt he would care much for My Chemical Romance. Still, I feel that this song is a fitting tribute. My Chemical Romance's album The Black Parade centres on a young man in the early 20th century who is dying of cancer. Among the ideas in the album is that death comes to us in the form of our strongest memories. For the young man who is dying, his most powerful memory is having attended a parade with his father when he was a child. When death comes to him, then, it comes in the form of the Black Parade. Having always liked parades myself and having attended many with my father, and liking the idea of death coming in the form of a parade rather than a death march, I like to think that my father passed from this world as part of the Black Parade. As I believe in an afterlife, I believe that his passing was not so much a time for sorrow (although my mother, my siblings, and myself were no doubt sad--I still am), but as a time for celebration.
Dedicated to my father, then, here is the video to "Welcome to the Black Parade."