bio: October 2007 Archives

Charles W. Brooke, 1943-2007

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As some of you already know, my father passed away last Saturday. We had the visitation on Wednesday and the funeral on Thursday. Needless to say, it's been quite a week.

This marked the end of a seven-or-so year struggle with cancer for my dad, a time that was concurrent with his involvement in local (Davenport) politics, including 4 years as mayor. I'm going to write more extensively about my relationship with my dad in a few days or so, I think. But right now, in addition to the grief and sadness I feel, I must say that it's been a very strange experience. There were things about the cancer that my dad couldn't hide--the physical changes, having to use a cane for a while, etc.--but he wasn't especially public about his pain and exhaustion. So while I was as prepared as I could be for his final days, I wasn't really prepared to read about him in the paper or see stories about him on tv.

While I've been less than thrilled with those who have used the opportunity to talk more about themselves than my father, I don't begrudge the publicness of it all--my father touched a lot of lives, particularly late in his life. For the last few years, it was pretty common for me to visit Iowa and to see, on a daily basis, letters to the editor defending his policies and choices or attacking him. It had subsided a bit with his move from mayor to alderman, but he always spoke his mind, particularly when it came to things that he thought were in the best interests of the city.

But I remain sensitive to the posturing, posing, and performing that has gone on, and I understand it even if I don't approve of it. The publicness of the past week has made it more difficult for me to sort through my own feelings and reactions. Wondering whether this person or that one would dare to come to the visitation, worrying about whether or not tv cameras will try and sneak shots of the family, checking the papers every day to see if and what's being said: all of these things render my own negotiations with death just a little less peaceful and even possible. For a while, until I realized why, I was getting short-tempered and angry. Lack of sleep probably didn't help much, either.

Ah well. As I said, I'll write more about us later. Right now, I just feel like I'm slowly regaining some of the emotional energy that I've been spending over the last week. And I wanted to thank everyone who's passed along condolences and good wishes to my family and me. And I wanted to say goodbye to my dad, even though he claimed he only read my blog when I wrote about sports.

Bye, Dad. I love you. That is All.



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This page is a archive of entries in the bio category from October 2007.

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