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Life After the End of the World: My Dad, the Mayans, and Me

December 21st. For years that date had been discussed ad nauseum. The date the Mayan calendar ended. The end of the world. It became a joke. I thought it was pretty funny myself. I dropped a joke or two on Facebook about it.

When you wake up on 12/22/2012, run outside and scream "THE DOCTOR DID IT! HE SAVED US!"

My Dad would have thought that was hilarious. In fact, he’d probably have actually done it. But he couldn’t. In his case, the Mayans were right. Despite being in a building full of doctors, his time in this world ended on December 21st, 2012.

The joke isn’t nearly as funny to me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I still see the humor in it, but it’s only a half-hearted chuckle now. Maybe it’ll be a full laugh again later. Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to lose my sense of humor.

In fact, I got a lot of my humor from him (at times, to my – and my family’s – chagrin). He asked me what the date was the night before he died. Maybe he held out to the morning as a final joke. I doubt it, but I have to admit that in a twisted way it does make me smile a bit to consider. In any event, I know he’d find that coincidence funny.

I know he’d be happy that as family and friends gathered in the days subsequent to his death, there was a lot of laughter amidst the crying. There’s not a lot of “somber” in our genes. This situation definitely brought it out, but it’s a recessive trait. Oddly, despite all the sadness of the days after his death, even now I look at back at some of that time with fondness because of the drawing close of family and friends in support and sympathy – and with my friends and family, that means humor.

At the funeral on Christmas Eve morning, many people spoke of his good humor and warm smile, even at times when he was experiencing pain or discomfort. Yes, he did have moments of depression, anger, and negativity, but the vast majority of the time that assessment is spot on. He really was generally happy, especially when spending time with others (even the nurses and doctors in the hospital noted his positive attitude and lack of complaint).

He loved life. I don’t think he wanted to go, but I think he knew it was time.

I’ve been writing this post for weeks now. I can’t make it say what I want it to. I’ve edited and considered completely deleting everything. I feel inept in communicating my feelings. So in lieu of something coherent and properly toned, here’s a very incomplete list of things I remember about Dad:

  • Smiles
  • Laughter
  • Teaching me algebra to teach me subtraction and multiplication
  • Laying on the living room floor reading the Sunday comics
  • Working in the garage
  • Playing catch
  • Camping
  • Bad jokes
  • NADC open houses
  • Loni Anderson t-shirt
  • The augur that ripped off his overalls
  • Siphoning the water out of the flooded basement
  • Swimming in the creek
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Driving the bus
  • Plowing the street
  • Generosity
  • Eating lunch at work
  • Leaving work early to drive me and Cliff home from a too-long bike ride
  • Building the ramps and steps at the cabin
  • Climbing up the mountain behind the cabin
  • Walking with him and Grandpop to the Molyneaux farm stand, and trying to throw sticks far enough to hit the creek
  • Sadly, conversations I intended to have, but didn’t
  • Love

On the day Dad died, his cousin Fred wrote this on Facebook: “Vic was my first hero. My big cousin. Sadly, too far away, and now vanished.”

He was my hero too.

dad

Victor A. “Vic” Caddick, Jr. of Ambler, Pennsylvania passed away on Friday, December 21, 2012 at Abington Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was 70 years old. Vic was born July 20, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of the late Victor A. Caddick Sr. and the late Lois Caddick (nee – Dietrich).

Born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia, Vic was a graduate of Frankford High School. He joined the United States Navy in July of 1960 and served in Norfolk, Virginia until his honorable discharge in July of 1963. On April 4, 1964 Vic was introduced to Arlene by a mutual friend. They later went on a triple date to see the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” The two started dating, fell in love, and were married May 21, 1966. Vic worked as a computer scientist for Johnsville Naval Air Development Center for many years, he received a bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University and later went to work for Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation.

Vic was a former member of Glading Memorial Presbyterian Church and a long time member of Supplee Memorial Presbyterian Church. He enjoyed computers, fixing cars and tractors. Vic started to loose his sight in 2004, but because he was always very handy and mechanical, he was able to continue to guide his family in any repairs and fixes.

Relatives and friends were invited to his viewing on Monday, December 24, 2012. Graveside services and military honors rendered by the United States Navy followed.

Donations may be made in his memory to Supplee Memorial Presbyterian Church, 855 Welsh Road, Maple Glen, PA 19025 www.suppleepc.org or American Diabetes Association, 150 Monument Road Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 www.diabetes.org.

Dad_santa

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4 comments to Life After the End of the World: My Dad, the Mayans, and Me

  • Nancy Caddick-Robertson

    What a great tribute. I too remember alot of the times you so eliquently spoke about. You should be proud of yourself as I know your father was so ever proud of you. Jeff you did a great job on something that I know you personally struggled with, and if it makes any difference to you I am so proud one that you accomplished something you have struggled with and two I am proud and so very lucky to have you as a member of my family not to mention a valued friend as well. Bravo. Your dad is smiling down on you and is so very proud of you. Love you.

    Reply to this comment

  • I’m glad you didn’t delete everything. If I had a son write what I just read, I’d feel I’d succeeded in life. To have a son turn out such that he could express these things the way you have would be a blessing, and to be such a man that my son could say these things about me would be too. I thank you for sharing, and pray you and your family’s pain will ease.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Thanks, Colin. I really appreciate that.

    Reply to this comment

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