It Was 46 Years Ago Today…

My old man died of a brain tumor on October 15, 1973. He was 48, 8 years younger than I am today.

Memories fade as we grow older, but I cling to the memories of Michael Leo Scheck greedily with every fiber of my being. He was a very good man taken from this world at far too young an age. Some men, some fathers, are complete shitbags and hardly worthy of living, but my Dad was one of the good ones, a smart, kind, gentle, highly moral and ethical, loving, and yet super-strong man who loved his wife and nine kids with all his heart and sacrificed his own well being to ensure we had a good home and everything we needed. He just ran out of time too soon to be there for most of my life; 82% of my life has been spent without him around, which sucks.

I take full ownership of every aspect of my being and how I have conducted my life, and I certainly don’t blame the fact my Dad died when I was ten years old for any of my mistakes or shortcomings in my life. I am responsible for everything fucked-up that I have done, no excuses, no blame anywhere but towards me. However, my teen years were a fucking bleak nightmare of trying to overcome his massive loss in my life. I don’t even remember who I was before he passed. I just remember the dark wilderness through which I tried to navigate the decade after he died and what a god-awful time I had finding my way to the light again. How, in my 20s, my fear of dying young like my old man led me to unbelievably stupid behavior, reckless and thoughtless at every turn, and how my anxiety and self-loathing damn near destroyed me, and yet how I overcame that toxic shitpile of neurotic self-abuse and emerged a better person. Not a great person like Mike Scheck, but I’m not a villain or scumbag either.

I can tell you this: I’d have rather he lived longer. Over 16,360 days have gone by since he died, and on not a single one have I not thought about him, that 6’4″, lanky, eternally-grinning, charming, deep-voiced man that he was, and a delight to be around. He was as human as the rest of us, sure, and like us all he had flaws, but he was a better human being than 99.99999% of the other human beings I have encountered in my life. I say that from an objective point of view as well as a highly biased one.

I don’t know how many days I have left in this world, but already I have lived over 3000 more days than he did, so I have been luckier than he in that respect, but I’m hardly half the man my father was, and everyone who knew him and knows me would heartily agree. And I am at peace with that fact. He was a great man and I’m merely average at best.

RIP +46, Dad.

2 thoughts on “It Was 46 Years Ago Today…

  1. Great to read your words. I wish I could remember my Uncle Mike more. I don’t know where those memories are, or if it’s worth the effort to try to retrieve the irretrievable. Aunt Tess, in that huge kitchen, with that enormous sink. Good grief, Matty-Brown, did you guys bathe in that thing? Your Dad sitting in that huge green? Purple? Chair in the corner. Sorry to say I was intimidated by almost every and all male adults as a child, including my own Father, so I missed out. I should’ve asked him questions about the three Scheck boys growing up on the south side of Chicago.

    Even in the crowd that was the17 Scheck kids swirling and twirling around your grand old house, I somehow had my own little anxiety-reactor running full-steam. But I loved Mike Scheck, similarly to my own Father, who managed three more decades of life.

    You are such a treasure. I feel close when see your emotions as powerful words making even more meaningful sentences. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Love, Cousin Ted

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