Thursday, December 31, 2009


My father passed away in the beginning of 2009. His death was closely followed by the passing of my wife’s brother. These events sort of set the tone for the entire year.

My father lost a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. My brother in-law, a long battle with alcoholism. They are both sorely missed. As much as I am grieved by their deaths I am even more deeply saddened by the way these two diseases took two strong vibrant individuals (my father an ex-Marine and an artist, my brother inlaw a Veterinarian) and savaged them until they became mere shells of their former selves. I know the Marine in my dad never would have wanted to live the way he lived the last few years of his life, unable to do practically anything for himself. One of the saddest moments of my life is the day I looked into my father’s eyes and realized he didn’t know who I was. The light of recognition in his eyes was gone. That really hurt, even though at the time I couldn’t admit to myself that it hurt. It’s a pain that I am hoping someday others won’t have to experience. In order to do my small share to help I am going to donate 15% of the money I make for Working Daze (it's not a lot) in 2010 (and hopefully beyond) to the National Institute on Aging (

Scott and I would also like to encourage those of our readers who can to also try to make an extra contribution to their favorite cause: be it for families who deal with alcoholism (, be it cancer research, be it the boys and girls club, be it The Salvation Army (, be it whatever. We know times are tight. But even small contributions can help. Heck, sometimes just giving time to a charity can be cool.

Since this is suppose to a be a fun comic, I’ll stop sounding like an after school special. There were some good things that happened this year, the birth of a new nephew (Mr. Felipe, the boy always on the move) and new niece (TZ, the girl with those eyes) being the highlights. The family lost two members, the family gained two members. I guess that’s how the Universe works. I am sure my father Mike, and brother inlaw, Manuel, are smiling down on the two new additions. After all, my dad always loved being around young life and these are Manuel’s grandchildren.

Finally, since this is the time of giving, we’ll be doing some giving. I have a bunch of extra books around: some original Working Daze books, my latest novels and my YA book Baxter Moon. We’ll give away 10 books to 10 randomly chosen people. All you need to do is email me at: All you need to say is: I would like a book. Or something like that. If you are one of the ones chosen you will then be emailed and asked which book you would like. The goal is to start 2010 off on a nice note.


epic said...

Thank you for sharing. It's so difficult to watch a strong parent descend into the depths of dementia.

bicycler1951 said...

John, Your father was a Marine from the time he earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor until he passed on to guard the gates of Heaven. He never stopped being one. We have a saying "Once a Marine, Always a Marine." And we mean it.

Semper Fi!
Tom Tilque
Active Duty USMC 1969-73

Pastor D said...

John - Thanks for writing about your dad and brother-in-law. You took some hard hits in 2009. I hope this year is kinder to you.

I enjoy your regular work in humor... but I realize it is funny because real life is so serious. You have refreshed us again and again.


Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing your story I understand the pain of your loss. I lost my father in 2006. He suffered from this horrible disease for several years and the last year or so of his life he didn't know who I was. I lost my Dad the day we were together and I was, trying to get him to remember things from my childhood and he turned to me and said "I'm sorry but, I can't remember your name but you seem like a nice lady." The memory still brings tears to my eyes.

When he died it was like loosing him a second time.

I pray a cure, or better yet prevention can be found.

Thank you for your efforts toward this goal.