PieThere's a game coming out tomorrow. It's called That Dragon, Cancer.
Tycho mentioned it in his news post today over at Penny Arcade, but he also slipped in a link to a post he'd written about his father in 2014.
It's overwhelming, deeply personal, and it hits like a punch.
You should go read it here, then come back.
Okay, you're back.
Normally, I would give you a little summary in case you were lazy. Not this time. That piece of writing is too powerful to summarize. Go read it.
Okay, you've read it now. Good thing, because you might not understand what's coming if you didn't.
Here's the thing about me. For the first forty or so years of my life, I was an apple pies. Like this:
See that crust?
That was my crust. Unlike a pie, though, there were no tools to get through that crust. It was a detachment that I held thickly around me.
When Eli was born, I still had that crust.
I had it through the first few years of his life, although there were moments when I felt something giving way inside me.
Being around a small person is different.
They're genuine. All the time. Eli was so sincere, so genuine, that parts of my crust started pulling away.
I didn't miss it.
I still remember the last piece of crust, the day that it just wasn't there anymore. I even wrote about it.
That was the day. It was a good day.
This post, though, isn't about Eli, or me.
It's about my father.
My father left my mother very, very early in my life, too early for me to have any memories of him before he left.
I did spend part of one summer with him when I was (I think) eight. In Monroe (pronounced "Mun-row).
Even at my young age, what I clearly saw was a deeply unhappy man.
I don't remember one single moment when we really connected. Not really. It was something he wasn't capable of doing, although it seemed like some part of him wanted to.
It was crust, his crust. Thickly held.
It was the same with my stepbrother, his other son. My dad couldn't connect with him, either.
My Dad is very old now. Haven't heard from him in twenty years.
Does he know what he missed? With everyone?
I can't imagine what it would feel like to be near the end of my life, still holding that detachment around me like a shield.
Actually, I can imagine, and I do know what it would feel like.
It would hurt.