Mom died in 2011. Her loss devastated Dad and me. We discovered that we had a choice…
“Get busy living or get busy dying.”
Let me explain… Dad and Mom met in high school. Within a few days, they were inseparable. They were best friends first. That was a time when it was unusual for boys and girls to have that kind of relationship.
Dad, Mom, and Jason years ago.
Dad was a tough guy, a boxer. Mom was also an athlete, a track star. They did everything together. She helped him train. He ran with her in the mornings. They spoke late into the night on the phone. Within a year, they had fallen in love.
After high school, they were engaged. Married. I was born. Our family from that point on as close as a family could be. Jokes and teasing were the norm; so were morning and bedtime hugs. Mom and Dad — two crazy lovebirds, an inseparable team.
So when mom died suddenly in 2011 — a heart attack with no warning — I was devastated. But for Dad the pain was unbearable. He plunged into an abyss. He lived in void. Mom was his life. He was lost. READ MORE
Until I was 14 or so, my life at school was hell.
Every day, a new humiliation.
My name is Jason Dwurple — yep, you heard right. As if being the only Catholics in a small town wasn’t bad enough, I grew up with the strangest name on the planet (Dwurple became “Dorkel,” “Twirple” — you get the idea).
Jason and his father Bob on a hike in Northern California.
For these reasons and more, I was a natural target. I was bullied unmercifully day after day.
Today there is public awareness of how bad bullying can be. Not when I was young. It was largely ignored — “just part of growing up.”
I didn’t tell my parents — I was embarrassed. I didn’t want Mom to worry. And Dad — well, we were never that close.
I was sensitive, pensive and awkward, the polar opposite of Dad. In fact, I spent most of my childhood thinking I was a disappointment to him. Unlike me, my father was a tough guy, a character. People laughed at his jokes. They listened when he spoke. READ MORE
I never really knew my grandfather, Chubby. I was too young to remember what he was like. I wish I could remember the day I met him for the first time. From what I’ve been told, it changed my dad’s life.
Brian, Chubby, and Jason, taken on the day dad and Chubby reunited. Chubby still looking a little “shook up.”
Dad returned to Cincinnati after law school to work for Chubby’s real estate firm. They quarreled occasionally, as fathers and sons do, especially in a family business. Dad told me later he realized it was mostly his fault. He was school educated, so he presumed he was also business smart.
My dad and my granddad disagreed on how to run the business, a lot. One fight went too far. Horrible things were said. A standoff ensued. My dad worked in a second floor office. Chubby’s office was downstairs. They didn’t speak for six months.
My mom was pregnant with me at the time. I was born May 24, 1978. Almost twelve pounds. Mom had a cesarean section, and needed a few days in the hospital to recover. Dad was overjoyed. His first-born son.READ MORE
For many years, I was a little sad and wistful whenever Father’s Day rolled around because inevitably, there was some article in the newspaper that celebrated a bunch of dads doing ordinary things for their families every day.
Pam and her dad, 1992
My dad was sort of ordinary, at least for a while. He built ice rinks in the backyard and burned piles of leaves in the street (back when it was legal) with a fearlessness usually reserved for Tom Cruise action movies. For a few years, that same bravado turned him into a star salesman, one who traveled and sold the type of stuff surgeons used in the operating room.
After my parents divorced when I was 12, he turned into the kind of dad who’d drop in now and then, with a showman’s flourish, then leave for months, or later, years without ever contacting us.
My mother raised us — three kids — alone.READ MORE