I’m not usually one to write about people’s deaths. In fact, I usually try to avoid it and deal with it myself.
Well, not saying I’ve had a lot of death in my life. In fact, to steal from Mitch Hedberg, I’d say if there was a bell graph with the amount of death in my life, I’d be right in the fucking middle.
I contemplated writing something a few years ago after the death of my grandma, Ruth. She was like a 2nd mother to me. Whenever my mom would punish me by sending me to my room, or whatever, I’d always call her and tell her what my mom did. She’d tell me to hang up and she’d call back and yell at my mom for what she did. She’d pick me up from school on days I didn’t have some sports thing, or if my mom had meetings or whatever. Even towards the end of her life, when she no longer spoke or even recognized people, when I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years…She recognized me.
All of that is pale in comparison to losing one of your parents and watching them go through something so horrible.
I tried to deal with it by blowing it off, complaining about it, or even saying “I’m really glad I’m not living in Vegas so I don’t have to deal with this in person.” I always thought it would go away and get better. It always did.
Growing up, my relationship with my father was never the best. He really didn’t know what to do with a kid, and honestly, I don’t think he really wanted me around. I do, however, applaud him for sticking around. Even if it was more of a financial role than an emotional or physical one. I know, in his own way, he really did love me.
Once I was old enough to interact with him, so to speak, our relationship developed in a different way. He always had the most amazing jobs. Whether it was being the General Manager of the San Diego Zoo the first few years of my life, to being the head of, what is now known as, Universal Creative, and Universal Studios.
Even when he worked for Circus Circus/Mandalay Resorts (now MGM Resorts), and up until his recent projects in Las Vegas (Positively Kids) and New York (Adelaar), it was always something amazing.
While, as everyone knows, I’m most proud of his work at Universal, as that’s where he made his name, had the best job, and had an amazing career, it’s all the other stuff I am more proud of.
From 2005 to 2008, I was the Senior Project Manager for International Resort and Leisure Operations Consultants, reporting directly to the President, Terry Winnick.
Not only was it a great job, but I also was able to develop a better relationship with him, which I think, at that point, we both needed.
It was during this time, he moved from Santa Fe, NM to Las Vegas, where I was currently living, and he taught me everything he knew about the development business. Things I will never forget and have taught myself how to apply to my life every day.
In more recent years, I learned how to parlay his knowledge in to helping me help myself. Whenever I was stuck with a difficult task at work (either at The Cosmopolitan or even at Omni), I knew I could always call him and ask for some insight because I knew he either had access to, or even knew off the top of his head, whatever I was looking for.
Of course, with him, it wasn’t always work.
Every few years, we always made a point to try to get together for a week or so and just go somewhere and chill out. Whether it was Monterrey, CA and playing golf at Pebble Beach, taking my mom to the Big Island of Hawaii, or even one of our favourite spots, Scottsdale, AZ, he always made sure that we had a great time together, always experiencing the best of whatever city we were in.
Whenever I use my phone to pay for something with Apple Pay at Whole Foods, or, even when they’ve been announcing huge projects in Downtown Nashville, it’s really weird not being able to call him and tell him what’s going on. I always seem to take out my phone, or make that move to pull it out of my pocket.
Yet…something always stops me. Knowing that I can’t do it.
I know it will take some getting used to, and honestly, having not talked to him for a couple of weeks now, it’s getting slightly better. However, even in that, I knew that I could always just pick up the phone, and there he’d be. Always happy to talk to me, like a little puppy when it’s owner comes home from a long day at work. It’s those things I’m going to miss the most.
To my father…
I know I never said it enough, but, in my own way, like yourself, I will always love you and I can’t thank you enough for the incredible life you have given me. All of the experiences we had together, all the knowledge you gave me. Everything.
You were always worried that everything you told me, I would ignore or just not care about. I want you to know, I will always have your voice in the back of my mind, like Jiminey Cricket, advising me on what I should do. You were an amazing inspiration to me, and I will always be grateful to you for everything you did for me.
I love you, Dad. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone in the world.