It’s Been Two Years, Two Months

James Heath Video Thumbnail

Please view the video here. I had to remove it because it was slowing down the server.

It’s been two years and two months since Dad died. I’ve never been one to keep to do lists except when I’m stressed out and scatter brained. This video has been on my to do list for two years. I’d like to say it’s complete, but all I can say is that I can’t tweak it any more. I wanted to compile a magical tribute that would sum up EVERYTHING… pffft. I thought maybe if I did, then maybe I could say goodbye.

In the video, there’s a section with my sister Beth and I and a song titled “Father’s and Daughters, Never Say Goodbye.” I picked it because my Dad and I had a conversation along those lines. “Most daughters hang around home and bring their kids by,” he had said. “You were never like most daughters. You were my tomboy.” I pointed out the fact that leaving home hadn’t been my choice. I was asked to leave. But, that’s not what I want to talk about. Like every parent-child relationship, our relationship was complicated.

And, it’s not just me. Every single one of my five siblings had a different relationship with him. At our gatherings when telling stories, I hear something new every time. I think to myself as they are telling their tale, “It’s like we all grew up in different houses.”

Ten or so years ago, I had an amazing epiphany but it took me a lifetime of pain, PTSD, cancer, and all the crap that hits us in life. I realized that I had to let go. Just stop carrying around the anger, pain, regrets, resentment, and ill feelings. And, life has become so much more wonderful. I realized I like who I am, and I am who I am because I had these two parents who were amazing, brilliant, hilarious, romantic, influential, hopeful, giving, and just freaking awesome. At the same time they were flawed, unknowingly cruel, and left me a pretty messed up head.

But I am happy and I have my Dad to thank for it. We went through a lot, but he always got us through with a funny story and a hug. That resiliency, in addition to good looks and humility, is something I got from my father.

I am so thankful that a couple of weeks before he passed, I was able to thank him for everything he’d given me and tell him how much I really loved him. We had a wonderful conversation on the phone. It was unusually long and winded and finally I could hear my brother Paul telling him dinner was ready.

So, I said I’d let him go.

“Never say goodbye,” he cut me off. “I’ll see you later.”

As a final word, I want to thank everyone who came to the memorial or reached out to let us know how much he impacted their lives. It means more than you’ll ever know. Also,  to my brothers and sister (and spouses and children) thank you for sharing your memories and allowing me to pick your brains about Dad. Please don’t mistake anything in the video as having any ill will. If I made an error, please let me know and I will correct it immediately.

Below is a list of music that I used throughout the video. Some was played at his memorial. Each one of these songs has a story attached to it, but I’ll spare you all that except to emphasize how much influence he had on my musical tastes which includes everything from heavy metal to baroque. He was a huge lover of music. An early owner of computers, he figured out (before there was software or equipment to do it) how to hook up his Commodore to a keyboard in the 70s just so he could program electronic music. He also loved musicals, classical music, opera, and novelty songs. Although he was a man’s man, he’d often admit “I’m a lover not a fighter,” and he loved romantic pop songs. He had a wonderful voice and would sing romantic songs to my mother throughout our childhoods.


Music Credits:

  • Introduction – Robbie Williams – “Angels,” The Funeral Album | Piano Music for Funerals, Lucas King, 2014
  • Early Years – Jim Croce – “Time in a Bottle,” The Funeral Album, Lucas King
  • Marriage – Mendelssohn, “Greensleeves on Harp”, Seika Dong Arranged by McDonald Wood
  • Wedding – Johnny Mathis, Burt Bacharach, “Heavenly,” Heavenly, 1959
  • Military – “Taps,” US Navy Bugler at Memorial, 2020
  • Jimmy – Jackie Evancho – “Angel” (from PBS Great Performances), 2011
  • Curtis – George Strait – “Love Without End, Amen,” Aaron Barker, George Strait, Livin’ It Up, 1990
  • April and Beth – Michael Bolton, Paolo Buonvino, Richard Clayderman & Michael Bolton, “Fathers and Daughters” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), 2015
  • Shane- Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man,” Welcome Home, 2017
  • Paul – Owl City, “Not All Heroes Wear Capes,” Cinematic (2018)
  • Grandchildren – Jenn Bostic – “Jealous Of The Angels,” (Official Video), 2012
  • Great Grandchildren-Hal Ketchum – “Wings of a Dove”, Greatest Hits, 1996
  • Words of Wisdom – Wiener Philharmoniker – Maurice Ravel – “Bolero,” Regente Gustavo Dudamel (2018)


Dad humored my mother when it came to genealogy. Maybe he wasn’t much interested because he never knew his real father. But, if you’d like to see his tree. His Family Group Sheet is here. He also had his DNA done by Ancestry which has been connected to mine. You can view it by searching for Heycuznet.

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