The few times I did visit, I found him in a wheelchair, hooked up to oxygen, so happy to see me.“Hey,” he’d whisper. “Let’s get out of here and smoke a doob!”I’d laugh, tell him I didn’t bring any pot.So we’d settle for a cigarette in the nursing home’s smoking room.He’d suffered several strokes and lost all his teeth, leaving him to speak in a language he jovially referred to as “Strokenese.”I knew he was dying. For most of his life, I’d felt like he never wanted to live. Now was his chance to give in.On my last visit, I said everything I’d ever wanted to say.I forgave him for the way he treated me, and I meant it.I told him that I loved him.I told him he’d be in my heart and that I’d carry his spirit with me as I walked down the aisle to get married.He apologized for everything he’d put me through. He said he wished he could’ve been a better father.Through tears, I asked him if he was afraid to die.With a toothless grin, he thought a moment.“I just hope when I reach the pearly gates Saint Peter doesn’t make me spell chrysanthemum to get in,” he said.He died a short time later of renal failure. He was 52.