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My Father Passed
Dad is at Peace at Last
Well, after just shy of two years battling Stage 4 Melanoma, my father, 77, finally passed. He died peacefully yesterday, Friday, June 2nd, 2023 at precisely 4pm. He was a beloved husband and father and he left behind me, my mother, my sister and brother-in-law and their kids. He will be forever missed.
Below is an excerpt from the essay I wrote about Dad when he was in the hospital six weeks ago: We thought we’d lose him then. But he got better and came home. I’m grateful for those six weeks. Author Sherman Alexie wrote a poem based off my essay; you can read that here:
Here’s a small chunk of my essay, below. To read the whole thing click the link at the end. This piece is paywalled. Consider going paid! Only $35/year.
This personal story—as most of you all now know—has been retold by myself ad nauseum. But for those who haven’t heard it, a brief recap.
In early June, 2021 I left Manhattan, where I was living in a little shotgun 3rd-floor walkup in Lenox Hill, to visit California.
I was born and raised in Southern California, Ojai, 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Ojai is a little 8,000 population rural town 12 miles east of Ventura off Highway 101, filled with fields of orange groves, rugged mountain trails, the Topa Topa Mountains, a lush, wide valley, a teeny-tiny downtown, hippies, surfer-biker bros, rich people, and ex/current/former Hollywood celebrities. (It’s also a cherished spot for Buddhist meditation. Krishnamurti once lived there.)
In June, 2021 I hadn’t been back to California in 18 long, harsh months. It was the Pandemic Period. When the lockdowns had hit, in mid-March, 2020, I’d been unfortunately living in what turned out to be the Wild West of upper East Harlem. I wrote a whole book about that; click HERE to read it.
Since 1991, when we moved to Ojai from Ventura when I was eight, my folks have lived in my hometown. The Thomas Fire in 2017 changed their desire to remain. They decided to leave. Santa Barbara—where my mom volunteered and had her friend group—made the most sense. So, in the middle of the pandemic, right as I was simultaneously breaking my lease in Harlem (I’d been chased twice, witnessed a rape in Marcus Garvey Park in midday, and had been told that two men broke into our building and held up a tenant at gunpoint one night while I slept upstairs), my folks were moving the one hour northwest of Ojai to the shimmering diamond that is glorious, gorgeous Santa Barbara. Sixty-nine and 74, they were going to enjoy their golden years, traveling, walking along the beach, walking the dogs, enjoying their spectacular view of the city and Highway 101 and the Pacific from up in the Santa Barbara Riviera, up above it all.
But, as is so often the case in Real Life: It didn’t go down that way.
TO READ THE WHOLE PIECE: https://michaelmohr.substack.com/p/death