Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wink Wink

Well you’ve gotten just about every side of the story except for the backside so I
guess that’s me, Jeff (That was my sorry attempt at humor, but I know Dad will
appreciate it. Chalk it up as a Dad joke). Well, over the last week, like all of my
siblings, I have been trying to make sense of what has just happened. It still feels
like a terrible nightmare. Every time I lay down to sleep, I think, when I wake up
this will all be over. But each morning I’m greeted with the same pit in my stomach
that this is not a dream. It has been so hard to keep my mind from wandering down
the “what-if” road so I’ve been trying to focus on all of the incredible memories I
have with Dad. I thought it might be easier to write this post “To: Dad" since I’ve
always had such an easy time talking with him.

Hey Old Man,

I know there may be some things you won’t remember, but as you begin to recover
there are some things I don’t ever want you to forget.

I know each of us kids likes to think they are your favorite, but I’m going to make my
case for the title. I’ve always felt like I’ve had an extra special bond with you. Not
sure if it’s the short/stocking body type (also known as chubby) that you and I share
or the extremely spherical domes that we sport. Perhaps it’s the fact that I can call
you on the phone and we can have a more than 30 second conversation (Dad’s not
a fan of the phone chit chat). Whatever it is, it is there and I love it. I have always
felt an extra special bond with you Dad and when I see you in your hospital bed so
helpless it kills me. The night after surgery we sent Mom home to get some rest and
the brothers took shifts with you through the night. As I was sitting by your bedside
holding your hand while you slept, the tears started flowing. I’ve tried to stay strong
and keep the tears in when I’m around you, but this time I couldn’t stop them. You
must have heard or felt me crying and opened your eyes. You squeezed my hand
which got my attention and then gave me a wink (just like Grandpa Bullock used to
do). You didn’t say a word, but your wink said it all.

I think back to all of the fun road trips I’ve had with you Dad as we’ve traveled
across the country for races. I’ll never forget the Boston Marathon where Ryan
and I thought you were literally going to die after the race. We all ran our slowest
marathon times ever in the blazing heat. That night we went to Chili’s for
dinner. You were as white as a ghost and you literally slept the entire time lying
on the bench in the booth. Our waitress was worried and thought she should call
someone for help. We told her you’d be fine and that you were just a little sleepy.
Thinking back on it, I am not sure why Ryan and I did not just leave you in the hotel
room to sleep. Oh wait, it is probably because we needed someone to pay for dinner.
Hey Pops, next dinners on me.

Remember the road trips down to Southern Utah so we could do the triathlons? You
would think that I might remember the ice cold lake water or the long hills we had
to bike. Nope, I think the fondest memories are at the pit stops on the way to and
from the races. We’d go in to take a potty break and get some snacks. You would
sneak up behind me and do one of your famous shoulder farts (If you’ve never seen
this you’ll have to ask him to show you…they sound so real). This would normally
be seen as socially unacceptable, but I of course would play along and say “oops,
looks like that one snuck out”, which would inevitably be followed by a louder and
longer one that would bring even more attention. I think you may be a 13 year old
boy trapped in a 58 year olds body….I guess that makes me 10.

You feeling like lunch? How about we hit up J-Dawgs? Onions, pickle and sauce,
that’s your favorite. Some of my fondest memories of BYU was our weekly J-Dawg
lunch appointment. We’d get our dogs and drink and just talk…kind of like girls I
guess. We’d usually talk about our latest training run or what race we were going to
sign up for next. I’d complain about how tough my classes were and you’d laugh. I
loved it. You, me and a J-Dawg.
I’ll pick you one up on my way down tonight.

Although I don’t want to, I had better remind you of this. Yesterday, when you woke
up, I was talking to you on the phone. You were answering all of my questions great
so I decided to really test you. No son ever wants to have their Dad beat them in
a race, so I asked. “Have you ever beat me in a race?”. Your response….”hmmm,
nope”. Me, “Not even a triathlon?” You, “Not yet”. I was pretty excited because
it looks like the doctor erased the one memory I wouldn’t mind you forgetting.
However, when I came and saw you last night I thought I would re ask you the same
question, but unfortunately for me, you now remembered, along with which race it
was. Looks like I’ll be going back to the doctor to get a refund.
Hey Pops, just so you know, that won’t be the last time you beat me in a race.

I could go on all day and trust me I will once your back home, but there are a couple
more things you can never forget. Thank you Dad for the example you have always
set. I have never questioned your love or commitment for Mom and our family. You
would do anything at the drop of a hat for any us. You have always been the rock of
our family. You have always been the place to turn when there is trouble. I think
that is what makes this so hard since it is happening to you. Thank you Dad for your
incredible testimony. The way you are able to carry the light of Christ and serve
those around you. You have a special way of connecting with people and sharing
your faith. Thank you for being the Dad I pray I can be someday.

I know we’ve got a long road ahead, but Dad, you know as well as I that this is not
the end, but just the beginning. Think of the incredible story this will make for
a submission story for Ironman Hawaii. We have always dreamed of going and
if you’re going to have to suffer through this, you may as well be rewarded for it
(although not many people look at an Ironman triathlon as a reward…I know you
will). Also, remember that we’ve already signed up for Ironman St. George next year
so there is no backing out now…no refunds.

I love ya Pops


The Bentley's said...

Thanks Jeffie. I just loved that. Perfect

W. Nielson said...

Pretty sure I won't ever make it through a day without tears. But some of those were happy and laughing tears. That was really sweet Jeff.

grammajill said...

Hey Jeff, nice post. You have great humor. I love hearing these stories about your dad.

Renae Brady said...

Jeff you are awesome. I have loved reading each post from all the kids, and of course, your sweet Mom's comments. The Bullocks are really special people. We love every last one of you!

Jennica said...

That was so sweet, Jeff! It was fun to read the stories and the memories! Thanks for sharing!

Andrea said...

Such a great post Jeff!