My Father is Gone
He had his 84th birthday recently, but didn't think of himself as old. He'd been fighting cancer for the last three years, but didn't think of himself as sick. Going to the doctor was just to humor the rest of us.
When I was a baby, I had persistent colic. He would sit up for hours, rocking me and singing silly nonsense songs so I would sleep. He was one of the few people to admit to liking schmalz, the flavored lard spread (hence the usual meaning, cloying or goopy). He would eat anything except okra. Even the carefully prepared cupcakes with a cotton ball baked in the middle, a prized family practical joke that he had told me about himself. We had to stop him before he swallowed the entire thing. That's when we knew things were bad, when he said "I'm not hungry."
He had an ... adversarial relationship with ladders. Neither of us kids ever had to go to the emergency room, but he had a habit of falling off the roof and collecting stitches. He kept promising to invent anti-gravity and go to the stars. He liked to argue with me about electrons and the Big Bang Theory and anything else that was handy.
I wasn't done with him yet. Give him back!