I have the ability on this website to have a blog and to be able to post what I want on it. I'm thankful for that.
Most of the time I post fun stuff, ridiculous stuff, but every once in a while you get a deeper glimpse into my life. So I hope you don't mind that I share it with you.
On February 22, 2014, while the Handel morning crew was presenting the Handel Anniversary Show 'Hack The The Future' at the Grove of Anaheim, I was in a hospital room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, the place I had been for the last 5 days.
My father had been in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation centers for the last several months, and just two weeks before, looked like he was getting a little better.
My dad suffered from a myriad of problems in recent years, debilitating back issues and pulmonary fibrosis, which as anyone who has ever looked it up knows, doesn't get better, it only gets worse. There is no cure.
But when my mom called to tell me he was at St. Joseph's again and I went to see him, as soon as I had walked in the room, I knew it was the beginning of the end. He was literally 30 pounds lighter than he was from the week before. I was stunned to see how he looked.
He was in good spirits though and for the next day he spent his time trying to convince me to do the Handel Anniversary show anyway, that he'd be fine, and hell, it was just up the street!
I told him nope, I wasn't leaving, so he was going to have to get used to me being in that room, just sitting, talking (as much as he could because he was having trouble breathing) eating (well, he was being fed via a feeding tube because he was having trouble swallowing too. My mom, husband and I would grab something from the cafeteria when we did eat, which wasn't much) watching TV, holding his hand.
I don't know exactly when my dad was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, because he didn't tell us, we found it out later that a doctor had diagnosed him with it. We also found out that it likely developed as he aged and as a result of his work in Alaska with the Navy and Air Force in the 1950s.
Here's a pic of him from that time.
He and his buddies were responsible for testing planes after they would come back from flying through Russian bomb tests. My dad never talked much about his service, specific to what he did, but from sifting through memos and military service records, we found that much out, so it's likely radiation and other things he was exposed to back then was what caused his lung issues, the rest of his buddies also suffered from similar issues or cancers later in life as well.
I didn't talk nearly enough to my dad about his past (something you really don't realize until someone is gone) but as he got more ill, I made it a point to ask lots of questions and spend as much time we could together, I wish I would have filmed it.
Here's a photo of me and my dad from the 80s.
He did talk a lot about what he did after his service. He worked for Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, Long Island, and then here in California. That was the entire reason we moved here in 1987, for a 'top secret' government project. I didn't know until years later, that project was the Stealth Bomber.
My father was very proud he was part of that project, and his other favorite project, the F-14 Tomcat, was also my favorite project, and we would spend hours talking about the plane, the specs, etc.
In fact, that shared love for the Tomcat was the inspiration for my tattoo that is on my left shoulder, which I got one year after my father's death, to honor him.
Below is the patch the tattoo was based on.
Nothing prepares you for the death of a loved one, even if you're expecting it. Nothing prepares you for the loss you feel, the empty part of your heart that you can never fill again no matter what you do. Nothing prepares you, as the youngest child, to be the one to tell your sister to get her ass on a plane ASAP to get here because 'things aren't going to get better.' Nothing prepares you for having to tell your brother things are getting worse. Nothing prepares you to be the one to tell your mom that it's time to stop treating everything and just make dad comfortable. Nothing prepares you for the moment you have to explain exactly what that means to everyone, that he will basically fall into a coma and never wake up, but you know it's the right thing to do.
My father died the morning of February 23, 2014, just a few hours before, while my mother and husband were sleeping on the couch in the hospital room, I quietly leaned over him to tell him, 'It's ok daddy, you can let go, everything is going to be ok.'
I have had the honor now of being in the room and holding the hand of my grandmother when she took her last breath, sitting next to my mother-in-law took her last breath and again, holding my dad's hand when he took his last breath. I say an honor because for me, all three deaths were extremely peaceful, but that honor is both a blessing and a curse, because the moment plays over and over in your mind at random times.
Other than the anniversary of their death and their birthday, you never know when it will hit you, and no matter how long it's been, it can still hit you hard to the point where you can't function.
I feel that today.
After my dad died, it put my life into a new perspective, and I promised myself that every year I would take the day of or the day after off from work and do something fun to honor my dad.
So that's what I'm doing tomorrow. In memory of my dad, Frank Henry Otto Kube.
Last year, I did a podcast about my dad, so if you would like to hear more, you can find it here. My talk about my dad starts about 12 minutes in.