The last couple of months I haven’t really put too much time, thought or effort into writing…anything. Because of that, a few weeks ago I was thinking about writing something in the form of things that I am thankful for since I haven’t written in a while. My family and I will NEVER forget This Thanks Giving, this month of November of this year, 2014.
I almost don’t even know how to start this, but this was one of the first things on my mind this morning. To write. To get things off of my chest. I’ve written a bunch of random sentences that don’t make sense even to me…so I deleted them. My thoughts are scrambled. I have so many feelings coursing through my body - some that I never hoped to feel in this magnitude: LOSS.
I’ve had a few family members die in the past, but they were old (sorry grandmas & grandpa - but you were). They lived out their life and died in bed, where you’re supposed to. We all know death is certain; we know our days are numbered. It’s weird to feel that someone definitely had more numbered days than the ones that he was given. I guess there are no true rules in life or death.
My dad was “missing” for a few days. Was this uncommon? No, not really. He’s done this before. He would grab his fishing stuff, grab his gold panning stuff and go up to a river and hang there for a few days without telling basically anyone where he was going or when he was coming back. And jeez, back in the pre-cell phone days, no one could get a hold of him for anything. See, he’s always been an ‘on the move’ type of guy. He put a camper on his truck and he’d just drive around - sleep where and when he wanted to, eat where and when he wanted to and shit where and when he wanted to. I wouldn’t hear from him for months. He’d miss his weekend to come get me and I’d sit by the window and wait for hours - the whole weekend even - only to get a letter a month later saying that he’s sorry he hasn’t talked to me. Actually, come to think of it, almost all of the childhood letters that I have saved from him start off that way.
When my mom mentioned that he hadn’t been back by Friday of last week, I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until Monday that I received a message from my aunt, my dad’s sister. She was concerned and then of course, that made me concerned. I tried to reassure her that nothing is wrong, he’s just up in the mountains/river/lake, wherever he felt like going to get some fresh air. That Monday night, I would think “what if something happened?” - then I would kick it out of my mind. He’s a strong man, he’s a smart man and he’s a tough man - he could kill a bear with his hands. Last part is a fib, but I know he‘d say “Damn right I could!” as he’d stand up tall and pump his chest out.
Tuesday morning while at work, on a hunch, I think that I’m just going to look for ‘incidences’ near Frazier Park. Google kept on correcting it to ‘accidents’, but my gut was saying to look deeper into ‘incidences’. On the Kern County Sheriff website, I see…umm….I see something that I will never forget: body of unidentified man found in Kern River. I look further into this and based on the reports, they assume that he was a man out by himself. My brain starts swirling around and all arrows are pointing to my dad.
I call my mom and mention this to her and she tells me not to worry, to not start going down this dark street in mind; my dad was fine and she’s sure he’ll be coming home any minute now. I then call and mention this the hubs and he’s like “Babe, you NEED to call them! Just ask them if they can tell you this man’s approximate age, his race even. Shit if you don’t call them I will!”. So, I do. I call the coroner’s office. I start off the call telling them this is completely weird that I am even calling, but my dad likes Kern County and I am wondering if they can answer some questions regarding ‘this body‘. Part of me was thinking they would say “Oh, he’s a 30 year old, 5’6” Hispanic man”. Phew! Bullet dodged. But, it didn’t work out that way.
I can hear the woman typing on her computer and to lessen the silent I am spitting out things about him: “He’s an older man, about 68. And he’s a big dude…like 6’ and about 250lbs on a good day”. She then asks what his name is and I respond: Glenn Davis. She sighs and says “Oh dear”. Two words. Six fucking letters. “Oh dear” changed my life. I start shaking, crying and repeating “Are you serious? It’s him, isn’t it? Are YOU serious?!“ She puts me on a brief hold and then pulls up more information. I ask her to confirm his birth date…it’s right, it‘s his. She says that they have his truck…it’s right, it’s his. I ask if we need to come down to identify him. She mentions that he had extensive head trauma; it appears he slipped off of a rock and basically landed on his head. This unidentified body was a man that was full of life.
I get off the phone and go into my boss’s office and pretty hysterically yell out that I need to go home, my dad is dead and they’ve found his body. My dad is dead. It feels so weird typing that. I can barely think it, I can barely say it, but my fingers are capable of writing it.