One thing I can say about my father was he always accepted me. I’d dye my hair pink or blue, he would laugh. It’s good to be different he’d tell me. In tenth grade I gave myself a Mohawk and died it blue. He didn’t care. As long as I went to school he was fine. I don’t think it was a matter of education, I think he just wanted me out of his hair.
He was more of a friend then a father. I would have liked a little of each. Considering the fact that some people never know both of their parents, I guess I was lucky that I had a relationship with at least one of my parents. Dad was high on his pills most of the time and overdosed a couple times. I had to call the ambulance to come get him. He had at least four different doctors supplying him prescriptions. If I couldn’t sleep he’d hand me a couple different pills and tell me to take them. I usually just tossed them out.
Every summer during Jr. High, my mom would take me to my grandma’s house and dump me off for the entire vacation. It was cool; all I did was play video games, smoke and drink coffee with my uncle. I’d come back the day before school stated and it was always the same, people would ask me where I had disappeared to.
I would sit around and listen to the radio. If I heard a song I liked grandma would give me the money to buy the tape. My mom told her not to spoil me that way. Grandma told her that I am her only grandson and she’ll do what she wanted. Which was a little different than a previous conversation, Mom called me a little asshole, and grandma told her not to ever call me that. Mom told grandma that I was her kid and she can call me whatever she wants. To prove her point, she dumped a glass of water on me.
My childhood wasn’t always shit. There were some good times. My dad used to take me and all the neighbor kids to Marineland or Knott’s berry Farm. He’d pay for all of us and we’d have fun running around the park for a day. He would get shitfaced drunk, feel guilty about it and bring me new toys.
One Christmas eve I was taking a bath with my little sister. I hated doing that. She was only one and would shit in the bathtub. My mom called up to me “Verne! Hurry, Santa’s here.” I wrapped a towel around my waist and flew down the stairs. I saw a red leg and black boot leave the door. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized dad didn’t show up till after Santa left and he was out of breath.
He would take me everywhere he went. If he had to take a truck to Portland, I always sat in the front seat of the diesel truck.
I don’t remember the last time I saw my dad. He used to just show up and take us to dinner. He would hand us a few bucks to buy something for the girls and then would disappear for a month or so. My ex-wife said it best when it came to him. He has good intentions, but never follows through.
There was never any father/son bond between us. In fact I think he hugged me once. He said goodbye, hugged me and was walked into the Psych. Ward at the VA hospital in Loma Linda. I was 16, no money, nowhere to live. Being homeless again didn’t appeal to me. I bit the bullet and called my mom collect.
She picked me up and drove me to her house. The ride over was silent. I could tell she wanted to say something.
We got to her house. She asked if I had any clothes or bags. I told her I didn’t know. Me and dad had split the travel trailer the night before. He woke me up and said we needed to go. I didn’t have the time to grab anything. We got in the car and he just drove around. Five or six hours later we ended up at the VA Hospital. He told them he wanted to die.
Mom told me I could have my own room back and that she would take me out to get some clothes tomorrow. It was weird being in the house again. I had been gone a little over a year and things seemed different. It wasn’t bad at first. We went to a few thrift stores and got some clothes. We went to the grocery store. She told me to get whatever I wanted. That lasted about five days.
She made spaghetti one night. She poured us a glass of wine. You’re old enough to have a glass every now and then she said. I sat on the couch with my dinner. She sat on the chair on the other side of the living room. She looked at me and said
“You think you can just move back in whenever you feel like it? You and your asshole father are just trying to take advantage me.”
“Quite mom, I just want to eat.”
“Fuck you. You do not ever talk to me that way.”
Her plate of spaghetti flew towards my face. I ducked to the side. Spaghetti covered the wall and the couch.
“Clean it up asshole” she said.
I went to the porch and smoked a cigarette.
I decided I would go back to my grandma’s house in the desert.
I took the bus out there. My dad picked me up.
He said he was only in for three days. I asked why he didn’t pick me up. He said it never occurred to him he should do that.
I get a call from my cousin.
“Your dad’s dead, he killed himself.”
Way to break it to me gently asshole. I called the Coroner’s office in San Bernardino.
I’m calling about Larry Robison. I’m his son.
The coroner I talked to was very nice. He asked if I wanted to hear the note he left behind.
Only a couple things stuck out in my mind. He said that he knew his grand babies would be taken care of and that he hoped to come back as a blue jay.
He killed himself in his girlfriend’s house. He took a shit load of pills, wrapped himself in a blanket and shot himself.
His girlfriend called me a few days later. She said that my father died owning her money. She wanted me to pay her the money and pay for a new couch. I told her to fuck off.
Last I ever heard of her.
I called my mother to let her know. She told me she’d dance on his grave. I hung up.
I had him cremated. I took his ashes and buried them in my grandma’s backyard. I didn’t attend the memorial service. I didn’t feel like hanging around a bunch of people that were pretending to like him.
I felt bad for my grandma. All of her kids were dead. Her husband was dead. My uncle, my dad and my aunt killed themselves. My other aunt got drunk and didn’t bother wearing a seatbelt. She died somewhere on Inyokern road, beer cans littered the area.
I started going through boxes of my father’s paperwork. I want to find out what happened. I want to know why he killed himself. I don’t think I ever will. Suicide is hard thing to understand. I’ve tried it myself a few times, never actually knowing why I wanted to do it so badly.
I came across his note. Now you may think I’m a bastard for doing this, but I am going to reprint his letter here. I think his last words should be heard. He wasn’t a bad guy, just sick. Forgive the spelling errors. I’m assuming Martha was his girlfriend. Shawnee is my sister, he spelled her name wrong, but that doesn’t matter.
I am sorry to have found myself in this position, but, then I chose to be where my most fond memories are and have been.
Your desk in at my house, and the keys are on the key chain left here on the kitchen counter, also you will find the $100 .00 that I owe you, Thank you for your caring and support during our time together and I do that the right person comes for you to fulfill your happiness
As for me, it was a wonderful fulfilling time, things just got in the way, of my happiness, and none of it was your fault. I know mom is taken care of, and my grandbabies are in good hands, even if Shawnee is having some upset but she is strong and will do well
As I know the Ans, shall when she is happy and hopefully you also
Today is just another walk in the park in life, and life continues for many, but my time has ended, maybe I will come back a blue jay