Super-Man’s last run
I have been thinking of how to write this, started,stopped,deleted,started,stopped,deleted…you get the picture. Then the other day I was with my kids, and they broke it for me. The tatters of my life…that is what I thought…the tatters of my life. I looked at my son and my daughter as they sat on the couch and I flashed back to my sister and I at that age, and the my life became the tatters of our life. Jenny and I, tatters is a good word for it, had a fucked up childhood. I swore that when I had children they would never have to go through what we went through, never. Well I don’t get to decide some things and they get to experience some of the things I did, not the really bad, but the not so good of growing up in a divided family, tatters.
As I looked at Chase and Karley it occurred to me that I had the opportunity to give them something from my childhood that wasn’t fucked up, a good dad. I had a good dad; no I had an amazing dad! Growing up he was larger than life. And that never left me. He was larger than life. Really, just ask his friends and family.
Dad watched me killing myself and it tore him up, I felt guilty for living a life that was killing me and I had to treat him poorly. If I was angry, and fucking loaded to the gills, at him I didn’t have to feel guilty, and I didn’t have to feel the pain and shame that I felt from disappointing him. I feared that more than anything else in the world, dying scared me less. What I didn’t know was that I didn’t have to feel that way. He loved me; he wasn’t disappointed he was scared and angry that he couldn’t protect me from myself. As a father I now understand that, as a child I didn’t.
About nine years and three months ago my life crumbled sufficiently that I needed help, serious help. I drove to my dad’s house and told him that I had spent the last month using and that I needed to leave my fiancé, and I needed help getting sober. I needed a safe place to go, and dad was my safe place. He was, and is my hero.
My father always did shit that would just leave me thinking how the fuck did he just do that? Throughout my life he was that way. He did drugs and partied like a rock star…and survived it! He was a gifted mechanic. He could ski backwards better than I will ever be able to going forward. He was a fucking Abrams tank, super-man. One Day he ran out our front door and jumped over the railing, while ducking under the roof beam and hit the ground running. By the time he hit the road I saw the little red car that had been tearing up and down our quiet suburb road coming, they had to be going about forty, at a full tilt run dad dove into their driver side window as they hurtled past. He grabbed the key and tore it out of the ignition, and then back out the window he went. When the car finally rolled to a stop he calmly walked up to the car, handed the driver his keys back and told them he never wanted to see them in his neighborhood again…we never saw them again.
He was larger than life. At a few years sober he quit smoking. He needed to feel ok with the not smoking so he started running. Within six months he ran the Portland marathon. He was a fricking Abrams tank. Shortly after that he started running ultra-marathons. For those of you who don’t know what those are, an ultra-marathon is any race that is longer than twenty six point two miles. I’m not sure what his first ultra was, but I know what his longest was. Badwater…the Badwater ultra-marathon is a one hundred and thirty five mile race starting in the Badwater basin in Death Valley Calafornia, and ending on, or near the top of Mount Whitney. He was super-man!
I also know the name of his last run, Mcdonald Forrest 50K. I happened to live with him at the time. And for some reason I had to get up, not sure if it was for bathroom, or drink but I never get up that early. Four A.M April twenty-sixth two thousand three was the date of the race and the time I woke. Dad was getting ready to walk out of the house when I came out of my room. We said hi to each other, and I told him to have a good race, that I loved him, and good bye. He said the same to me and left.
The phone started to ring, and for some reason the ringer was on in my room so it woke me. On the line was a man asking for my step mother, Vivian. I told him she was not home and that I could take a message. The man then asked for her cell number. I told him that I don’t just give out her number to strangers and he could leave a message. He insisted and finally frustrated I told him that there was no way I was giving him the number and either he could say what the fuck he wanted or byby.
“Scott Diamond, is my name,” he said “and I am a running friend of Scott McQueeney, I need to talk to his wife Vivian, it is really important!”
“I am Scott’s son, what is wrong?” I was starting to go from anger to worry
“Scott had a heart attack and I really need to get ahold of Vivian, she needs to come to the hospital in Corvallis….”
Things are a bit fuzzy after that, time did funny things. I am pretty sure I called Vivian, and woke up Shannon (my younger sister), but the next thing I remember is getting into Vivian’s car and leaving to go to dad. I offered to drive because I needed something to do with the world crushing adrenalin running through my veins. But I think Viv needed the same thing so she said no and drove.
That was the longest drive of my life. Eighty one miles, give or take a few, is the distance we had to travel. And Viv drove the speed limit the whole way. I wanted to scream…HURRY THE FUCK UP HURRY THE FUCK UP HURRY THE FUCK UP! Had I been driving we would have been going over a hundred easy. Hurry the fuck up. The family was being called, I think by me. Hurry the fuck up. Speedometer reading sixty-five, no variance. Hurry the fuck up, don’t you know my dad has had a heart attack! Hurry the fuck up I need you to be going faster faster don’t you know! Hurrythefuckuphurry up hurry up hurry up for eightyone miles that was what was screaming in my mind as we rolled down the road at that snail’s pace. Please hurry I need to get there…please.
Fuck this is hard, it is nine years to the day and I can steal feel the boiling raging thing that was rampaging through my soul on that drive. I didn’t say a thing; thank everything anyone has ever held holy that I didn’t. Vivian was his wife, his love, and he was hers. She was feeling that soul swallowing thing as well.
We pulled into the parking lot and Viv couldn’t find a parking space and she started to crack. Not even thinking I told her to stop and to get out, that I would find a spot. She and Shannon went inside and I parked the car. I ran to the front door…the doors opened just as Vivian started screaming. And I knew…I knew, he’s dead, Super-man is fucking dead, my hero, my safe place, my dad…dead.
The family was coming from Portland and Bend. Aunt Nancy and grandma were the next to show up. Jenny and Jason showed up and I met them in the parking lot, I had to tell my older sister that our hero was dead.
Dad ran the race. There is a picture of him at about mile thirty and he was in good spirits. Under a beautiful oak tree he crossed the finish line of his last run, looked up and dropped dead.
I hate that tree, I know that is a stupid thing to say, but it is true. My safe place died there, I hate that tree.
Scott Douglass McQueeney
A good man
A good father, husband, friend, son.
My hero, and my model for life.
On borrowed time
I said I love you
He said good bye
Walked out the door
Until that day he had been
On borrowed time
A deal had been made
A bargain struck
Under the oak
He went home
Chris McQueeney 2011
To my family, I love you all!
Chris McQueeney 4/26/12 12:46 A.M.
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