Boisterous \Bois"ter*ous\, a. [OE. boistous; of uncertain
1. Rough or rude; unbending; unyielding; strong; powerful.

This is the perfect word. For the man who was a second father to me. Ken was the father of my high school sweetheart. He was a large man, who did not believe there is such a thing as "appropriate". I think we bonded so well because, like my father, he spent what he can remember of the 60s and 70s as a hippy. He grew into a cantankerous man with a wicked sense of humor and little patience for authority of any kind. He also had a heart as big as a house, which he pretty much was.

I practically lived with them all through my teenage years, and when I had trouble, as an angst-filled girl, dealing with my own family, they embraced me into theirs. The high school boyfriend and I are still very close friends to this day, so I have kept in touch with the whole family to some degree. His parents moved up to Vermont about 8 years ago, so I didn't see Ken much. The last time we spoke was about 5 years ago, at his son's wedding. It was before things got too bad, and he was still walking around, though it was more a labored waddle than a walk. His health was failing because of his self-abuse. He developed adult onset diabetes as a result of his terrible eating habits and his steadfast refusal to listen to doctors. He refused to let anyone tell him how to live in any capacity. That's how he rolled.

When I got the phone call that he died last week, I was unsurprised, but a little broken. I wanted his stubbornness to defeat the odds. He was so pissed off most of the time, I thought that could keep him alive. When Ken realized his time was running out, he opted out of invasive surgery. He just asked that both of his sons and their wives and kids come up to Vermont to spend some quality time. He died a few days later. He was just saying goodbye. He lived and died on his own terms.

A funeral would not have been appropriate. Ken hated to get dressed up for that kind of thing, and he would be insulted if other people felt they had to do that to pay their last respects to him. His wife did exactly what he would have wanted. Last night, she threw a party at a bar, where a band played, who they used to go see often when he was still well enough to go party. Ken was a Jimmy Hendrix freak, and the guitarist in that band is the only person I've seen perform Hendrix tunes and do him justice. There was lots of Hendrix played last night. There weren't a lot of tears. He would have loved it.


Anonymous said...

sweet...It's good to see you still know how to write when you have a mind to...