May 2021

I recently lost my dad, who I never really knew. I mourned his absence my entire life and the effects on my relationships for not having a father. Still, I was devastated. I’d ignored his calls for years. I had given him too many chances before. I always thought about whether I would regret not talking to him and to be honest, I do. But not to an overwhelming amount. It was hard at first. But the reality is that nothing would have been different. The way people are, are the way they will always be. It’s my job to decide whether to tolerate what they have to offer. I make a habit of holding out for people to change into what I want them to be, and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I thought maybe some distance from the person who created that habit in me would help. My trust in people is hard to maintain and it’s getting worse with age.

My dad passed away May 20th 2021. I went to his memorial and spent an amazing weekend with my family whom I had never spent much time with before. I got to know him through them. It was better that way. They loved him in ways I wasn’t capable of. Because I was so blinded by why I should be angry with him. My dad was a nice person. He was trapped in his bubble and unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I wasn’t close enough to be a part of it. He took care of his sister and his nieces and nephews. Although I have his genes, I was never as important. Out of sight out of mind, I guess. An accident. Not chosen. A mistake. Some try to convince me otherwise, but that isn’t helpful. Just let it be what it is. It doesn’t make me feel better when people make claims that aren’t rooted in evidence, it just makes THEM feel better. The world can be ugly. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Love is not a word or a feeling as much as it is an action. It’s the way you treat people. It’s not the way you feel about someone as much as the way you make them feel about you. If you make someone’s life harder, you do not love them. If you do not feed your child, you do not love them. Emotionally, financially, physically. Starving a child, ignoring a child is not love. No matter what you think you “feel”.

There were a lot of emotions that weekend. There still are. There likely will continue to be. I know in my heart, that I am Tyler. Not an extension of him or whatever ideal he held in his mind about who his daughter was. He didn’t want to know me, but I hope that he gets to fall in love with me now. I truly hope that he is at peace. That is something he desperately needed.

When I returned home after the long weekend of tears, I opened my email to find a folder I made years ago close to the top of my inboxes. It was called “Elisha Breningstall”. Eli was a very dear friend who took his life May 31st, 2012. He and I had exchanged emails with silly youtube video links and sometimes just a sentence. I think he didn’t have unlimited texting or something back then. Retro phone if I remember correctly. So, one day, sometime ago, I went through my emails and put every one of those emails into this folder. Here it was, for no reason at all, near the top, where I could see it. I opened the top few emails and found recording links. I converted the files because they were so old! And they were songs he had written. One was a cover of Mad World. Which, in my opinion, has some of the saddest lyrics in a mainstream song ever written. The other one was a song he’d written called My Kulaks Girl. That song was about me. Kulaks was an open mic joint in LA where we met and eventually played together. Simultaneously, more tears ran down my face, but this time with laughter. Great lyrics. Solid guitar moves too.

I believe that Eli could see that I was very sad. Maybe the saddest I have ever been and wanted to reach out. Eli loved me and that’s why I blamed myself for a long time for not being there for him when I should have been. If this was his one phone call from heaven, this was the perfect time. My dad loves to jam on the guitar, and I believe that they could lay down some mediocre guitar riffs together. Or maybe in heaven, they both play better than they did on earth. Both my dad and Eli were very troubled souls. They deserved more than what the world gave them. I pray and hope that wherever they are now, that they have found that clarity that they couldn’t find on earth. That the violence and pain and fear has finally stopped.

I have never been able to write a song about my dad or Eli and today I started putting together one about both of them. Some people say that what ever is supposed to happen, will. And I selfishly hope that whatever is supposed to happen, ends up in my favor. I’ve had a rough go of it these past couple years, as I’m sure a lot of us have and I’m ready for some good news. Not just one time, but for a long time. Like, no more bad news for a while please. We all need a break.

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