Guest Dad: Mark DeGuilio

My name is Mark and I have been a single father for roughly 5 years.

There were stints, some longer than others.  I usually felt alone during those times so not much really changed.  This never stemmed from the detachment i always felt towards my son's mother or my on and off ability to commit to a relationship fully.  No.  This all comes from one place that i guess is best to bring up right away so you can understand why i say the things i say.  If you know me, why I act the way that i act.

When i left hospice that early afternoon on July 24th 1999 I knew that was the last time i was going to see my father, Charles, alive.  Not to say he was responsive.  I had not seen that for weeks by then.  He had already spoke his last words to me less than two weeks prior.  I will never forget that moment, what he said and the strange factual, numerical sense that they make.  

The band i was in was playing Lupo's for our first (last) time.  It was some all day RI band fest that we had all been really excited for.  My father was the biggest support of me playing music.  He bought my first bass and paid for the lessons.  He would come to shows when he could considering he had retired shortly before that and living on the Cape running a bed and breakfast with his girlfriend.

That day we were scheduled to go on at 5:15 exactly.  It being a big strict club that is what we did.  the clock struck and we played.  As tears rolled down my face with the opening line to a song, "where do you run to when the world gets to you.." , my father was pronounced dead at 5:15.  He left to come see me one more time.  

I have wanted to be a father since i was young man (32 y.o now).  I wanted to be the person my father was able to be for me for at least the last half of my life with him. 

I am not really sure how to write for a blog or write at all.  I have known Craig and Mike for some time now through music/Prov/Boston and i always admired them doing this blog.  What i am going to talk about is not light hearted, advice or easy to write.  This blog has been about positivity and holding your sense of identity which is a great thing.  I am searching for both of these.  After all this time i need to say something and i hope in ways it can be enjoyable.  

Coen.  My Coen Charles.

As parents, we all imagined what our house/apt would be like having our little boy/girl running around, naked, half dressed or over dressed yelling things that make you and your partner laugh, smile or embrace closer.  That generalized idea of what happiness is and where it comes from.  The one moment i will always remember that made me know that this little boy will love me forever as i will to him.  We were playing around in a dept store while his mom was looking around.  We had already split up but spent time together.  I sat down in some comfy chair while Coen was pretending to hide.  Coen then ran up to me, climbed up on me pressed his face right in front of mine and looked me right in the eyes.  He gave the largest smile and looked at me and said I Love You with them. Coen was 1 and half.  

My experience is about disconnect to a bond and then recreating in a reversed role.  The hardships that come along with it and trying to find coping mechanisms.  I know there are others who can relate and i would love to hear feedback from these people.  If you have not then i hope my words can help if you ever have to deal with it or if your significant other/partner has to.  

Imagine Christmas morning !!!  Your child's first time blowing out the candles on his/her own.  Family members coming to meet your brand new baby for the first time.  The shining moments in your life and your child.
As wonderful and inspiring they were and continue to be they have been clouded.  No matter which occasion i eventually have to separate myself, find an empty room and i fall down and cry.  The feeling of being cursed.  Why is my father no longer here?  Why was he ripped away from me? Causing me to not be able to give him the physical gift of a grandchild he had been wanting in his last years of life. Then the tears really start coming..
heavy anxiety ridden breathing sets in....  crying becomes harder.  You do your best to not let anyone hear you especially Coen.  I have begged what ever higher being bequeathed our existence knowing it will never, ever happen.  Then it all gets worse.  

My life would be better with my father still here.  I would be a better person, to myself and others.

Coen is the brightest light i know.  He warms everyones heart.  So skinny and kind of tall.  He is only a pain when it comes to eating.  So super picky and goes back and forth with what he likes.  He is raised vegetarian and sometimes the only guarantee of him eating is pasta with raw broccoli and carrots.    I know so far all i have said is gloomy stuff.  There is definitely more than that.  My little boy loves to run.  When he was a little younger and used to getting carried he would ask to be picked up when tired.  I would instead say to him, Want to just run instead?!?!  He would get a big smile and we would race.  His energy level is astounding considering his eating habits.  He just started playing hockey and bowling lessons.  What an imagination he has too!  Coen will come up with these stories and character when playing with his toys or sing a song about not stepping on frogs then putting them in a crocodiles mouth.  Obviously not as hilarious when read, but i crack up every time i listen to it.  

I have made it a point to let him know who is grandfather was and how important he is.  Telling Coen what "Papa Charlie" liked and fun times we had together.  I feel you should keep a connection between your children and close relatives who are not with you anymore.  Having a sense of where you came from is important and can shape the decisions you make in life more than we realize.  For example, no matter my disdain for Dems at times, I will not vote republican because of their anti union stance.  I walked the picket lines of New England Telephone/Nynex when i was 7 years old along side my mother and father.  I've called someone out as a scab when they crossed that line.  That 17 week long strike helped in the eventual foreclosure of the house i grew up in.  My parents divorce also hurt keeping that house as well.  No matter i still know that collective bargaining is one of the best things to ever happen to the American working class and i am happy to have fought with my parents to protect it and other issues.  Coen will learn about this story one day and i hope it shapes him in a positive way as well.  

This is a strange introduction to my life as a young father but the background needed to be said.  I have a lot to say and talk about.  I hope you are interested.  I hope i can continue this.  Welcome.

I was the youngest of 3 sons and i was the first to have a child.  A son.

Charles Leo created Mark Charles who created Coen Charles.  The Father and the Son.