The most defining story of my life.
My father, David Liszt, married three times. I am his fourth child. I don't think he planned to have another child, but my mother Karen insisted. I know he was proud of me. I spent my formative years in Richardson, TX in a townhome on Custer Rd. where my father was the original owner. At some point in my early years my sister Lauren (now Ramona) had moved to Austin, TX and my brothers Eric and Craig still lived nearby in Dallas. I hadn't experienced any real pain or sorrow as a child and would naively tell myself "wow my life is perfect, no tragedy, drama, nothing!" I used to think that life was all about living blemish free with no obstacles or troubles. Looking back I am thankful for the experience I would soon endure.
I knew my father had health issues as family would mention it. I witnessed his seizures first-hand as a child. He started smoking cigarettes when he was 13, dealt with alcoholism and suffered from Epilepsy. Playing football in Key West didn't help above the shoulders either. He stopped drinking before I was born and quit smoking cold turkey after I said something none of us can remember when I was younger. His past would catch up to him seemingly all at once.
I remember the first domino falling when he took me to Mr. Gatti's pizza just the two of us to celebrate something. I had the best time of my life, but on the way home he didn't stop the car at a red light slamming through the back of a car in front of us sending them flying across the street. This was my first car accident. Witnesses came over to help us, but my father kept yelling "CLOSE THE DOOR!" I kept telling him "they are trying to help us" but he was in another dimension. He fled the scene and drove us back home using wrong lanes to turn while driving very slow. I ended up going to my room while the police spoke with my parents about what happened. I don't remember anyone really talking to me about my experience afterwards. Turns out he had a seizure while driving and lost his license. Downhill we go.
When my father was younger he fell off a ladder slipping a disc in his back. Back then surgery wasn't the best, so decades later the disc ended up slipping again. He had minor surgery to start repairing the disc and everything went fine. Then he went back in for the big surgery. The morning after I was woken up at 6am because the home telephone rang throughout the house. I answered before my mother and it was a doctor from the hospital. I went back to sleep not realizing that call would change everything. He ended up suffering a post-surgery hematoma, which is a blood clot that touched his spinal nerve paralyzing him from the neck down. I was a senior in high school at the time. We had to sell my childhood home because it wasn't wheelchair friendly.
When deciding where to attend college I wanted to stay close to family, but everyone said "don't worry about them, you have to live your life." My siblings sooner or later moved to other states, which hurt at first, but I don't hold it against them whatsoever. I went to SMU and UNT so I could be near my parents and help when I could. I remember being the only one strong enough to carry my father in and out of the car. After years of rehab and nursing homes my father finally got to move back home, but not his home that he owned in Richardson. This is when I learned of my mothers immense strength. She singlehandedly became his caretaker while working at State Farm.
My father got most of the feeling back in his body other than one leg that gave him trouble. He never fully recovered as he was much older. His other health problems started to complicate things so anytime he went into the hospital it was hard to get out. He fell and broke his hip once, brain injury/dementia started to kick in, bowel blockages, and a lung cancer scare were a few of the big issues he faced. At one point a doctor said "if he comes back to the hospital, he might not make it out." My father already knew what was going on. He would say every time "get me out of here!"
In May of 2011 I graduated from UNT and luckily my father was able to see my senior recital. A few months later he is in the hospital again and I have a bad feeling. They are carting him downstairs to do a scan and he looks at me scared shitless begging me to get him out of there. That's the last thing he said to me. When they were transferring him from the bed to get scanned he had a heart attack that cutoff oxygen to his brain for 6-10 seconds. That kind of brain damage is essentially irreparable. I remember going into his room and seeing his eyes slightly open and crossed. He was still alive, but gone. I sat next to him holding him for hours late into the night as he slowly passed away. My mother, Aunt Patrice, and family friend Susan were there as well. He knew we were there.
My longtime serious long-distance girlfriend at the time couldn't come to the funeral as we were both broke college students. Unfortunately, that relationship soon faltered, but I know we are both in better places now. I turned my health around losing 80 lbs and started writing my own original music including a song for my father entitled Mr. David which you can hear below. He never got to see me play in the One O'clock Lab Band or with Aretha Franklin, meet my best friend and partner Jordan, or hear my music, but I know he was and is proud of me. Everything I do is in his honor and I thank him for everything he taught me. My experience with him has made me stronger than ever and I will never forget him.
For the next two weeks you can order the 2nd edition Spenser Liszt tank-tops, v-necks, and t-shirts just in time for Summer.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Epilepsy Foundation Texas in honor of my father.
Until Further Notice,