My Father Died Last Week

And I’m just starting to deal with it, I think.

Spilios (Uncle Louis) Tsielos died on the 14th of September, 2020. What a shitty year. I was notified of his death by a cousin posting the information on fucking Facebook. I’m really unhappy with that but it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. I’m not close with that side of the family, as I’ll delve into more as we go along. Regardless, I got the information nearly twelve hours after the fact by a social media post. How do you relay information of that gravity on Facebook without second guessing yourself?

I’ve included a grab of said post here for … posterity’s sake.

Geez, really….

I’m not sure why there were dum bells in the background but considering the decision making that went into posting this already, I’m not going to waste the mental exercise in trying to figure it out. Also, I’m not really a big part of that area of the family (or any family, for that matter) so I’m not about to get my knickers in a twist.

My Father and I had a complicated relationship. I’ve spent more time with my wife then I ever did with my Father (twenty years in November). At some point I might sit down and do a proper estimate on the number of months we were together throughout my life. It should signify how low that number will be when I display my confidence in being able to figure it out without much trouble.

It was only recently, within the last 2 years, that I learned my Dad was a radio repair technician in the Greek army when he did his mandatory military time. I’ve never thought of my Father as a technical person and to be told this information shook my understanding of who I thought my Dad was, right to the core. We spoke, really for the first time, about some of the work he was responsible for and I was amazed that he would do that sort of work.

Throughout my life, my Dad has always worked in restaurants. Periods of my life in which my Dad was around involved being in, going to or leaving from restaurants. When I was an infant, it was Uncle Louis’ Pizza. In my preteen years it was the White Spot. Later it was Yianni’s Taverna or Spartacus, both in Edmonton. Later teen years, before I stopped spending my summers with my Dad it was Villa Caruso or L&W in Jasper. Our life together, for what it was, revolved around restaurants. In all of these roles he was either the Manager, Head Server or, for a short time, a cook.

So consider my amazement to discover that he’d been in a technical role in the army. But this, dear reader, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The things that I don’t know about my Father are legion and I’m afraid to make the next statement but I’m going to do it anyways.

It doesn’t, nor did it, matter.

There were several times through my life that my Dad showed up for stuff. He was there when we won the Junior Football High School City Championship. He was there when I ended up in the hospital after getting cracked in the head by an aggressive douche bag wielding a bat. That was three days in the Peter Lougheed that were a little scary but he showed up. He also made the trek to New Brunswick when Sylvia and I were married.

And I’m trying to think of any other of my ‘shit, I wish I had my Dad here’ moments that occurred during my life. There were many. Many. And he wasn’t there.

I wont’ speak ill of my Dad. He wasn’t a perfect man; few of us are. But I used his failures in life as a crutch to keep myself from taking some risks.

I didn’t gamble until I was in my 40’s simply because I was sure it would lead me to a ruined life. So far, that’s turned out to be false. Perhaps it’s an age thing? I started gambling far beyond when my Dad started playing poker. I’m more mature, understand statistical risk better than my Dad (I think) and I’m not willing to bet my future, and that of my wife, on a session of Blackjack.

Thinking about children, I’m positive that I would do poorly, even more poorly than my Dad. Is that, too, just a fear which is incorrect? I don’t think so but now knowing that my personality enjoys balanced risk, this is not one I’m willing to take. I’m not willing to fuck up a person whom I’m supposed to be caring for. What are the odds of that happening? Too high for me.

This is the last picture I have of my Dad when he seemed happy. This is from September 2016 and we’re with my aunt Dina, the last surviving member of that generation.

Me, My Aunt Dina and my Father, Spilios (Uncle Louis) Tsielos

I have a feeling I’ll be dealing with this for a while. That’s it’s not just going to stop one day and all will be right in the world. Writing things down, finding reminders to my state of mind is helpful for me, very much like a map.

Where I was, where I am and where I might very well wander off to.

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