Are dates significant to you? The day you were born, a moment in time, or an astrological sign? The day someone died? Do you read obituaries and find it interesting when someone dies near their own birthday?
Why do two people who seemly were so diametrically different die on the same day, ten years apart? What if they were father and son?
My father died on July 15, 1981 after an eighteen-month battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The clinical name for the disease is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It was horrific. He died at home in the living room. We’d rented a hospital bed and placed it in there so he could see the TV, the back yard and be close to the kitchen where we prepared his food. He went from working, to weakness, stumbling to wheelchair in what seemed like a few weeks. Bed-ridden and needing to be fed, bathed and his every personal bathroom need assisted. When he died he had oxygen to aid with his breathing. My mother didn’t want him to go to the hospital to prolong his life. Living on machines wasn’t his wish either. He wanted to go at home, with his Siamese cat, Simon, by his side.
His son Michael (my brother) died July 15, 1991 from complications due to AIDS. He never came out to the family that he was gay, although I knew it and my mother suspected. My father would have banished him from the house if he’d known. Dad had strong opinions about race, religion and sexual orientation; some might even say- he was a bigot. Michael never let on his interest for men while living under my father’s roof.
In 1970 Michael (and his twin brother Mark) were drafted into the military. After a four-year stint in the Army and being stationed in Germany, Michael left the military for a life in Hollywood. He loved the movies and made a dramatic life for himself that included the glamour and glitz of Hollywood.
Michael never came home much, maybe once every few years to see the family. He was always traveling or spending time with friends to come home to see us. He did come home for my father’s funeral. Who could have predicted that ten years later, he’d be gone as well?
The two- Michael and my father Roy never shared any hobbies in common, or read the same books. They never discussed much beyond the weather or what was on the plate at dinner. But somehow, they died on the same day, ten years apart. Significant? I think so.
July 15 is the 196th day of the year. There are 169 days remaining until the end of the year. Counting backwards and forwards through time, the day one dies is significant.