Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jerry Pfohl, my Dad

Several weeks ago, at about midnight on a Saturday, I got a phone call, and Monday morning at 6 AM I was at the airport. That same evening I was in the United States, and the next day I was in a state of the art medical facility in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire. It was one of the most bizarre transitions of my entire life.

I went because my father had a heart attack, and sadly he died some days later. As I write this, a memorial service in his honor is being held on the property that was so dear to him, and to all of us in his family, the first home I ever knew, and the only place that has been constant for me over these forty one years. Standing in the field where they landed the helicopter to airlift him to the hospital, I had the strange realization that the last time he left his beloved property it was by air.

I've tried writing some things about this whole experience and it hasn't gone very well. I'm back in Brazil and wishing I was at the memorial. Something has changed and I'm not used to it yet. I think I probably won't write about this whole thing, beyond these few words, at least not here. One thing I keep coming back to is that this has always been, and continues to be, the hardest thing about living so far away from my family and friends; the fear, which is now the reality that something could and will happen. I am grateful I live in an age where I can get on a plane and be home the following day. I am more grateful that I have the means to do so.

Anyhow enough about me and just a few words about my Dad. He was a dear man and a great artist, he made many friends and few enemies. Even though we never spoke enough on the phone I never doubted that he loved me very much, and he knew I loved him too. He lived to 81 and he went out the way he wanted to- still physically strong and mentally sharp. No walker, no nursing home. He spent the last thirty years of his life with the woman who could only be described as his soul mate, and I don't use that term lightly.

I wrote a post about my dad on this blog a while back, really more about his artwork than him. The last thing I did before I left that weird hospital in the woods the day my father died was to finally register, and last night I launched his website, albeit with some rough edges. My family tells me it looks great, but really all I did was assemble a bunch of slideshows and put them online, it looks great because my dad was a great artist. Have a look and you'll have much more of an appreciation of who he was and what he did than I could possibly express in words.