There was a man I used to know…
When I was 19 years old and madly in love with his 16 year old daughter, he was intimidating.
I am 49 years old now and am no longer married to his daughter…
He died this morning.
As the dawn was breaking over the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah and giving new life to a young day…
Big Guy went somewhere else.
I say somewhere else because I don’t know if he is going to what some people refer to as heaven or hell.
They say that just before he died, Big Guy sat up in his hospice bed asking the few people in his room to get his clothes for him.
He needed to get dressed, because he was going home he said.
Was this a last conscious effort into believing that if he got up, moved around, that he could thwart death…that it wasn’t really happening?
Was it his way of ignoring the inevitable passing of his soul from this earth bound plane?
I think he was fighting it. I know he was….
I think he could tell he was fading. I know he did….
I don’t think he really wanted to go. I know he didn’t…..
I think he was scared. I would be too….
How about you? Will you be scared?
Right then, at that moment, I think something happened to one of the most pious and knowledgeable men I have ever met, who talked to me for years about the hereafter, preparing to meet God, to be repentant, humble…in the eyes of the Lord…
When it came down to his final moments, I think Big Guy panicked.
Let me explain….
There is a tragic history in the story of Big Guy.
I only remember a few things that he told me about his childhood and later life.
His father was very abusive and cruel. His mother…a timid waif of a woman
We’ve all heard that story….
Why didn’t she leave him? It was the 40’s and 50’s. Divorce wasn’t a huge best seller back then.
A different mindset.
Big Guy had a brother that spent most of his life in prison.
He had a sister that was an alcoholic and lived in a garage most of the time I knew her.
Big Guy had a beautiful smile and kind eyes and was a very handsome young man.
As I said before, he was very religious, knew the scriptures of his faith and taught me the meaning of family.
Something I had never known before.
But there was darkness there.
Behind the façade of his “normal” life lurked a monster.
He had sexually abused his daughters for years.
The daughter that I had married tried to tell me about this early in our marriage.
I reacted with “Oh my God! That’s sick!”
She burst into tears…
We never spoke about it again…until many years later.
What a bastard I must be in this awake place.
I think that’s the day I lost her….
If I had only listened.
If I had only been her husband, her protector…her friend….maybe…just maybe
I never heard anything about this from my wife and her sisters during that time with them.
Only that once….
All of his kids seemed to love and honor him.
We were always going over to their house to visit.
The grandkids loved Grampa!
I cherished him…and adored him.
I called him Big Guy….still do.
Then…something happened with a 12 year old step-daughter….And his daughters remembered their happenings and sent him to prison.
The state took the recent charge and the accusations of his children from the past that were all adults now with children of their own, and sent him to prison for 5 years or more I think.
I was no longer married to his daughter by this time, but I have remained very close with the family to this day.
When I heard about the accusations, the arrest, the trial and sentencing, I was dumbstruck.
No…more than that…I was devastated.
Then I heard the stories from his other daughters.
I remembered the time my wife had tried to tell me and I had broken her heart.
I was sick in my soul.
The man that had taught me the purpose, strengths and importance of family had destroyed his.
Not only recently as the newest accusation portrayed…but he had been doing it for years.
The signs are there, if you look…of how he destroyed his family:
Out of 3 daughters and one son:
7 divorces and one suicide.
The suicide was his son.
It happened less than a year ago.
Good looking, High school football star, missionary, college grad, pharmacist, 2 kids…alcoholic…suicide.
I loved the guy, the son.
If ‘HE’ killed himself…? My surety about never taking the easy way out has been shaken.
If ‘HE’ did it…?
It could happen to ANYBODY
How can a monster lurk behind a man’s eyes and remain hidden…accept in the dark places?
Why does the monsters hunger take precedence over morality or fatherly duties?
The hunger that slithers and crawls must be fed.
Big Guy couldn’t resist the urges of the monster.
I still can’t believe it.
As I’m sitting here remembering…writing this post, I find myself shaking my head.
Big Guy died with only a couple of people there beside him.
One daughter told him that she forgave him, but she didn’t mean it, others said afterwards.
My ex-wife didn’t even go to see him.
If she had, she would have asked him if he was in pain…then said “I hope so”
The mother of his children did not come.
No one rushed to his bed side.
I don’t want to hear “I forgive you” when I am on my death bed.
I want to do that…before that day comes.
Where are you now Big Guy?
Is everything you taught me true?
I hope so….then again…
I hope not.