Bye for now,
J.P. Fettinger 1939-2001
My father, J.P. Fettinger, passed away on April 22, 2001, after a brief,
but painful struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was only 61. He didn't
smoke, didn't drink, went to church, was physically active and died
anyway with his dignity and his independence stripped from him. And  
the doctors' beads and rattles didn't do a damn thing except ruin
whatever quality of life was left to him.
As a Christian, I take some comfort in the fact that my father is not lost
to me and my family forever, although I tend to have crises of faith from
time to time.   Perhaps he is spending time with family members he had
not seen in awhile - his parents, sister,  his brothers, and his good
buddy Bob.  And I do not blame God, but neither do I believe it was
"God's will." I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I for a minute have a
clue as to what "God's will" is. Sometimes, things just happen - they
don't always have to happen for a purpose.
But I'm still mad. He was too young. I'm angry that I can't call him and
talk to him about the Cubs or listen to the agony in his voice as the
Indiana Hoosiers mens' basketball team performs below expectations.  
I'm mad because I can't ask him for practical handyman advice when I
get too frustrated to think something through for myself.  I'm mad
because my mother, brother and myself still need him.  I'm sorry that I
never took him to Cooperstown, New York, to see the Baseball Hall of
Fame like I wanted to. I just always assumed that I'd have time. And I'm
sorry he just missed seeing his only grandson come into the world. I
want to believe it's because the boy's going to be such a handful he's
going to need not one, but two guardian angels, along with my late
father-in-law, another fine man whom I sorely miss. At least that's what
I tell myself.
Yes - I am grateful for many things, for the memories that I do have,
for late summer nights before satellite television listening to baseball
games on the radio, for batting practice across the road, for the
basketball goal in the back yard. I'm grateful that I was able to tell him
goodbye, unlike my wife, whose father died suddenly when she
wasn't home.  I'm grateful that the differences we had due to both of
us being stubborn and difficult were settled years before his
diagnosis, eliminating what could have been a lifetime of regret for
me. I think he knew how much I loved him.  I certainly hope so. If not, I
can tell him when I see him again. But for the moment, I am going to
miss him so damn much...
Dad in 1964 with
unidentified adorable little
Grandpa in 1994, holding his first
grandchild, my daughter, for the first
Grandpa in March 2001, with
his other granddaughter, my
niece. We had known for
about a week that he was
dying. It was his last picture.
Little more than a month
later, he was gone.
The web has information on pancreatic cancer, for which I have
this link which leads to some of the more informative sites
about the disease.
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