It would have been Pop's ninety-second birthday today. I sent Maureen and Jim, my "big sister" and "little brother," a backdoor link to some chapters I've been working on about my father. They both sent me very moving, supportive comments. I told Maureen that the last email I'd sent Pop, after years of corresponding back and forth on CompuServe and then AOL, was a note that simply said, "Thanks, Pop, that means a lot." I felt the same way today.
My father had written just before he went into the hospital in December 2002 after a story about Deirdre and me appeared in the New York Times. We had mentioned, among other things, our genetic propensities for alcoholism. Pop wrote back:
"My heartiest good wishes to each of you for such candor in the Times story. It takes character and love for others for you two to unwind as you did and I am sure there will be benefits for you and others as well. I am a very proud Pop because of you. Any other reactions? Keep up the good work ..."
And so we've tried to keep up the good work.
Maureen also told me that she had notified a number of friends about "Saving Carrick."
"One couple who lived next door in CC til this winter lost their granddaughter 18 mos ago. She drowned in the bathtub and as Lars wrote "I also forwarded your email to our daughter Tracy. As you know her daughter Danine didn't survive that damn stuff." We were very honored when they asked to use our boat for her burial at sea. Needless to say, it was a very moving day.
I wrote back:
"It's people like your neighbors who my heart goes out to. I'd like to use this little anecdote you told me — I can take out the names if they'd like — as part of a blog today.
She checked, and this was the immediate response:
"Hi! Tell your brother that he is welcome to use whatever. No need to change the names or disguise it. If it helps just one person to avoid the "curse" of addiction it will be worth the effort. Lars Larsen"
We're making progress.